Ironically on the same day that Czech politician David Rath was put behind bars for corruption, a special parliamentary committee in Slovakia voted unanimously in favour of cancelling MP immunity to criminal prosecution.
The committee, made up of all six parliamentary parties, means the basic agreement to cancel the luxury for MPS will be formualted into a draft law. A three-fifths majority will then be needed in parliament to make the Constitutional change, but this should now be no problem, although the debate on the details of the law will start in June.
The move will mean MPs will only have protection for the things they say and do in parliament or its bodies, with the law expected to take effect on the symbolic date of 1 September this year, the 20th anniversary of the Slovak Constitution. Even under the new rules, parliament will still have to give its approval for an MP to be arrested. Calls to rid also judges of their immunity were eventually scrapped, and so the status quo has been maintained.
Czech MP Rath was caught accepting a bag containing CZK 7 million, so was immediately taken into custody as his immunity doesn’t apply because he was caught red-handed. He explained to all the gullible public that he thought the bag contained wine, and that he was surprised by the money. It seems that things may really be changing in the region when it comes to the culpability of politicians.