The arrogance of power has found a new ceiling

Thank you Madam Vice President. Ladies and gentlemen, in my speech today I have to go back to the events of Wednesday here in the Chamber of Deputies, because something has happened here that simply cannot go away with a wave of the hand.

It happened that the government coalition, by the power of its majority, deprived the opposition of a fundamental right, and thus challenged the government. I must say that it is very hypocritical to say the least, especially on the part of the parties whose representatives before the election talked so much about a better political culture and called themselves democratic opposition. This is not the first time that the coalition has shown its true face and outwitted the opposition by force, for the sole reason that it is intoxicated by its power and, last but not least, because it has quite simply the majority here. Of course, it is difficult to object, it is always a question of attitude. (The speaker addresses the president for peace of mind.)

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I understand, thank you, Madam Vice-President. Admittedly difficult to oppose, it is always a matter of the approach chosen by such and such a government coalition. It’s your choice to prefer how the opposition is constantly ignored. And your approach is certainly possible, probably from your point of view also practical and even legitimate. But what is not legitimate is to deprive the opposition of the right to control the government.

Round up the right to ask about arraignments, and that’s exactly what happened this week. Wednesday afternoon’s meeting was adjourned until this morning, although there was obviously no reason for it. The extraordinary meeting of the chamber, which concerned one of the affairs of the STAN movement, was convened by the president on Thursday morning, that is to say at the time of the written interpellations. I may surprise you now, but even though I don’t like it, I have to say that I understand it and have no intention of criticizing it. I haven’t been in government so long, and I understand that you don’t want to waste time discussing laws.

But why did you cancel the oral interpellations? Was there a reason other than your 108 votes? Indeed, the argument is not an extraordinary meeting for which it was clear in advance that the program would not be approved. If, at some point in the past, there were no arrests, it was always done in agreement with the opposition. Now it was quite the opposite. You will recall that I had counter-proposed to adjourn until 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, so you knew the will of the opposition and you certainly could not have got the impression that we were not interested in the arrests.

Our democratic system is based on the fact that the government is responsible to the Chamber of Deputies and subject to parliamentary control. This parliamentary control is irreplaceable and interpellations are an essential and integral part of it. Their right is even enshrined in the Constitution, in particular Article 53 of the Constitution stipulates that any member of parliament has the right to challenge the government or its members on matters within their competence. The rules for questioning are then clearly set out in the rules of procedure, and as we know, it is also the law. You didn’t respect all that.

Your coalition has already circumvented parliamentary control once, despite the opinion of the majority of constitutionalists, the opinion of the opposition and, what is more, the opinion of your President of the Senate and of the Constitutional Commission of the Senate, composed mainly of members of your parties. Of course, I’m talking about a state of emergency. Although we, as the strongest club, have offered you a 30-day extension, you have chosen a very controversial course, at least from the point of view of the Constitution, which is to extend the state of emergency in 58 days. You will no longer have to account after thirty days now, in the words of President Pekarová, the exhausting debate with the opposition will simply fall away, and with it, of course, the much-mentioned parliamentary control.

Your government recently celebrated its 100 days in office, and I would like to ask you a relatively simple question about those 100 days. Do you know, dear colleagues, how many oral interpellations took place during this period? Thrice. Yes, all three times. At the same time, it would be difficult to find a time when the opposition’s questions would be more understandable. Our country is facing an energy crisis, a migration crisis, inflation and with it the prices of everything are rising. We are in a state of emergency and yet, as the opposition, we cannot ask.

Because your government is avoiding parliamentary scrutiny and refusing to answer understandable questions from the opposition, and I don’t know if it’s just that you don’t have the answers or if you just want to prove to us that the arrogance of the power has found a new ceiling, so we are logically looking for ways to address these issues. That is why today my colleagues and I would like to include new points concerning the work of the government with our concrete proposals. I believe and expect the ruling coalition to take the initiative, pinch your nose, classify our points and allow our proposals to be discussed.

I propose an item entitled Repealed interpellations and to place it as the first item on today’s agenda.

Thank you.

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