The colourful character of Igor Matovic from the ruling SaS party, who since taking up his post as an MP almost caused the coalition to collapse in its first days, has been slapped by nationalist MP Belousovova, and who went outside for a fight recently with opposition MP Robert Kalinak (it didn’t happen), made a one-man protest yesterday.
Matovic joined the SaS party as part of the Obycajne ludia party (Ordinary People) and believes in the principle of ordinary people being represented in parliament. His demonstration yesterday was to draw attention to the absurd degree of immunity MPs enjoy from prosecution, an issue that is part of Saturday’s referendum and also a recently boycotted parliamentary session.
Matovic parked his car intentionally on a zebra crossing in front of a shopping mall on the square Kamenne namestie in Bratislava, because under his immunity protection as an MP, he is free from prosecution and so cannot be charged for it.
During the incident, he explained that MP immunity should be abolished. “An MP can’t be treated as a God and possess more rights than the people who have voted for him,” he said. Matovic left his car on the pedestrian crossing until the municipal police eventually showed up with a tow truck half an hour later.
Although they took his car away, Matovic only had to pay for the tow truck as he could not be charged with any traffic offence. “I didn’t pay any fine for the offence of parking my car on the pedestrian crossing. The municipal police told me they could only advise me, but could do no more because I possess MP immunity,” said Matovic.
“I’ve drawn attention to the kind of things I am allowed to do. An ordinary person can’t do this … It isn’t normal, which is why the referendum is being held,” said Matovic. One of the six questions included in the referendum concerns limiting MP immunity to parliamentary related issues, so that it does not cover also civil cases.
Many MPs, especially from opposition party SMER-SD, have done everything in their power to thwart the referendum, calling on their supporters not to take part and boycotting the recent parliamentary session on the issue. It is surely understandable, though, as the comfort of MP immunity must be hard to give up.