While in the past years there were no problems when MPs agreed on freezing their salaries, this time not even Smer deputies supported the proposal submitted by their party chair, Prime Minister Robert Fico. He now threatens the fall of the ruling government, the Sme daily reported.
Only 32 MPs supported the proposal to discuss the freezing of salaries in a fast-track procedure (Smer has 49 MPs sitting in the parliament). If they do not change their minds by the end of the year, Fico is ready to connect the vote on salaries with the vote on his cabinet’s confidence.
The government can also propose the fast-track procedure during the ongoing session in order to prevent MPs’ salaries from increasing by some €1,000 as of January. Currently, they earn €1,961 a month (with all bonuses €3,346 for those living in Bratislava and €3,576 for those living outside Bratislava). Some deputies say there is no economic crisis anymore, so their salaries can rise, Sme reported.
Speaker of Parliament Andrej Danko (the Slovak National Party) meanwhile said that he wants to initiate a meeting with Fico and President Andrej Kiska to discuss the salaries of constitutional representatives, the TASR newswire reported.
Smer deputies don’t see any crisis
Smer MPs do not see the current situation as tragic.
“It is a storm in a tea cup, we will be laughing about it later,” Dušan Jarjabek told Sme, adding that it is necessary to talk about it with the prime minister in person, which has not happened yet.
He also pointed out that salaries were frozen due to the economic crisis, but now the economy is rising again.
Not even Smer MP Miroslav Číž thinks the government will fall, adding that they will meet with the prime minister as soon as he returns from his visit to Africa.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák (Smer) disagrees with the rise in MPs’ salaries. He wants to discuss new conditions for remuneration.
Culture Minister Marek Maďarič (Smer) opined that something probably failed in the communication with the Smer MPs, as reported by Sme.
Most-Híd wants new rules too
The prime minister chose a bad path in his communication about freezing salaries and raises needless tensions in the coalition, responded Béla Bugár, chair of the coalition party Most-Híd.
“Twenty-six Smer MPs did not agree with his proposal,” he said, as quoted by Sme. “The parliament cannot act as the servant of the government.”
His party colleague and Justice Minister Lucia Žitňanská meanwhile said that the MPs’ salaries should be the subject of new legislation that will set rules also for the future.
The amendment adopted last year to freeze the salaries is currently in the Supreme Court, to which it was submitted by General Prosecutor Jaromír Čižnár, Sme reported.
30. Nov 2017 at 13:37 | Compiled by Spectator staff