>> Chamber of Deputies – illustrative photo.
Prague – Due to the government's proposal to reduce the June valorization of pensions, the House of Representatives is expected to face severe obstruction and probably even a night meeting. Deputies will meet on the bill at an extraordinary meeting called at the initiative of the coalition on Tuesday morning. The meeting will probably last several days. Controversy is also fueled by the fact that the lower house, at the government's request, is supposed to discuss the limitation of pension growth at an accelerated rate in a state of legislative emergency. If the draft is accepted, it will probably end up at the Constitutional Court.
According to the government, slowing down the June and thus the subsequent valorization of pensions is necessary for the stabilization of public finances. “The aim of the proposed amendment is not to obtain funds for the operation of the state, but to ensure the funds for the payment of pensions for all pensioners, current and future, so that the sustainability of the pension system is not threatened,” the justification states. Opposition politicians, on the other hand, talk about an antisocial step and about “robbing” or “pauperizing” pensioners, who belong to the population groups that are most affected by the increase in prices. Each pensioner will lose an average of 7,000 crowns this year alone, according to representatives of the opposition.
According to the amendment, the average monthly pension will increase from June by 760 crowns instead of the expected 1,770 crowns. According to the explanatory report, the state will save 19.4 billion crowns this year and 33 billion crowns next year.
Opposition politicians have already let themselves be heard that they will unleash the biggest obstructions to date and that they will prepare “hell” for the coalition. The government camp can try to tire the opposition by holding the House of Representatives continuously, overnight. Long speeches can be avoided by limiting the time of parliamentary speeches to five minutes, but this does not apply to speakers with priority rights. In addition, according to the rules of procedure, the House of Representatives can decide not to hold a general discussion.
The fact that the deputies of the SPD movement submitted a hundred amendments to the amendment to the parliamentary system also testifies to the fact that the opposition is serious about its threats to block the lower chamber. They want to increase the merit-based part of the pension by 2.3 percent, i.e. the same as the government. While the cabinet wants to add 400 kroner to each pensioner on top of that, according to SPD MPs, this fixed amount should be roughly one thousand kroner higher. Each of their adjustments assumes a different amount with crown differences. The ANO movement says that the obstructions will last at least until Friday.
The opposition points to the possible unconstitutionality of the intervention in the June increase in pensions, when the original claim, according to the current legal rules, caused by higher inflation, arose earlier for pensioners. However, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs stated in its explanatory report that, in its opinion, this is not an unreasonable interference with legitimate expectations. According to the ministry, the specific increase only results from the relevant government regulation, and it is not possible to talk about acquired rights until it becomes effective. However, the ministerial lawyers recommended a procedure for the pension amendment to be adopted no later than March 22, i.e. by the day by which the cabinet must issue a decree on the extraordinary June pension increase.
The opposition intends to challenge the reduction of the valuation at the Constitutional Court also due to its deliberations in a state of legislative emergency, which was declared at the request of the government by the Speaker of the Lower Chamber, Markéta Pekarová Adamová (TOP 09). It also decided on a shortened discussion of the amendment in the House of Representatives, i.e. skipping the first reading. Both of these steps must be confirmed by the plenary at the beginning of the meeting, which will cause further disputes. The cabinet justified the request to declare a legislative emergency by saying that the state is at risk of significant economic damage. According to some constitutional lawyers, from the point of view of legal conditions, this procedure is apparently borderline, but not completely out of line. According to another expert Marko Antoš, however, it is possible that the amendment will come up against the Constitutional Court in such a case.
Criticism of the state of legislative emergency and the possible retroactive effect of the draft is also heard from some coalition representatives in the upper chamber, in which the government camp has a significant advantage. Doubts in the same spirit have already been expressed by Petr Pavel, who should get the amendment signed as the new president. But he will comment on her only after he takes the oath and assumes the position of head of state.
It will not be the first time in this election period that MPs and the staff of the parliamentary office face long night meetings due to opposition obstructions and extensive debates. The last time the Chamber of Deputies sat into the night for two days in a row was in January of this year during an unsuccessful opposition attempt to express no confidence in the government. Last September, the discussion on the same took more than 20 hours and MPs debated all night from September 1 to 2. Long into the night during this period, the Chamber of Deputies already acted a total of seven times.
Extraordinary June valorization of pensions according to the proposed and normal legal rules:
|Amount of pension in CZK||Increase from June according to the proposed rule in CZK||Increase from June according to the proposed rule in percentages||Increase from June according to ordinary legal rules in CZK||Increase from June according to ordinary legal rules in percent||Difference in CZK|
Source: Explanatory report on the draft law amending Act No. 155/1995 Coll. , on pension insurance, as amended, and some other laws.< /p>