Slovak parliament almost sees its first punch-up

Ukrainian MPs in April 2010

Not quite yet on the level of the Ukraine parliament, but Slovakia’s parliament was almost witness to its first real punch-up yesterday, 9 September. The friction was between Igor Matovic (SaS) and Robert Kalinak (Smer), who started insulting each other in a heated exchange before challenging each other to step outside.

Some sources say Matovic swore at Kalinak, calling him a “pr**ck”, after Kalinak called Matovic a thief for not paying students for delivering the newspaper that he publishes. Matovic denied the accusations. They then challenged each other to step outside, which is precisely what they both did.

Parliamentary speaker Richard Sulik (SaS) tried to cool the situation, saying “The gentlemen had a difference of opinion, these things happen, but there has been no physical contact. They just have a few more things to say to each other”. An intermission was then called for by former speaker of the house, Pavol Paska.

After the incident, Matovic admitted to journalists that he had called Kalinak names. He claims the harsh exchange was brought on because of his comment that if an alleged recording of Robert Fico talking about illegal parallel financing of his party proved to be authentic, then Fico should be put in jail. The recording was released just a few days before the parliamentary elections in June.

Matovic later apologised to Kalinak, but the session on MP immunity had to be adjourned till today, 10 September. As it turns out, Fico’s SMER-SD party and the other opposition party SNS, have boycotted today’s session, and so the vote has now been moved to October. This means it will be after the 18 September referendum, which is exactly what Fico wanted.

SMER-SD party chairman Robert Fico said they took the decision in protest to Sulik allowing parliament to turn into a “circus”.

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