The government’s plans to restrict MP immunity just to issues concerning their public posts, while also including judges and the judiciary, are still being met with opposition from Robert Fico’s party Smer-SD.
On Saturday Robert Fico said on a radio programme that the party would be willing to hold talks with the coalition only after the referendum takes place on 18 September. “Let’s wait and see what the people have to say first. We want to have serious dialogue, and I am ready to talk about the issue, but we should first wait for the referendum,” said Fico.
As the issue of restricting MP immunity is one of the questions included in the referendum, Fico feels that the government is making a farce of the referendum by forwarding the proposal beforehand.
On the same radio show, Prime Minister Iveta Radicova said that if the postponing the vote on the issue is so important for Fico, she would accept this demand, although she rejected his claims that the government was mocking the referendum, as it was on various issues and not just MP immunity.
Fico’s Smer-SD party has also spoken out against taking away immunity from judges as he feels that it would create scope for the government to bully judges. As part of his justification, he also said: “I don’t want to see some over-ambitious interior minister dispatching 10 over-motivated police officers to push Smer-SD MPs around for parking on the grass and so on”. He referred to the system as a strong tool for crushing the opposition. In response the Prime Minister gave her guarantee that “if they come and push you around just because you represent the opposition, I will personally protect you. That is no problem at all.”
The government needs a certain level of support from the opposition in order to push through its proposal, because it would require a constitutional amendment. for this, 90 MP votes are required, and the current coalition holds just 79 seats in parliament.