The Chamber of Deputies limited the speaking period for the proposal on the pension growth rate

The Chamber of Deputies limited the speaking period for the proposal on the pension growth rate

The House of Representatives has limited the speaking period for the proposal on the pension growth rate

Extraordinary meeting of the House of Representatives on the proposal to limit the extraordinary June valorization of pensions, February 28, 2023, Prague. From the left, Minister of Finance Zbyněk Stanjura (ODS), Minister of the Interior Vít Rakušan (STAN) and Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Marian Jurečka (KDU-ČSL).

Prague – After roughly 18 hours of discussion on the rate of pension growth, the House of Representatives shortened the speaking time to a maximum of ten minutes at the proposal of the coalition. It was enforced today by the chairman of the STAN deputies, Josef Cogan. The ANO opposition movement unsuccessfully demanded that the speaking time be limited to a maximum of one hour per speaker, six dozen of whom are still registered for the debate. Vice-chairman of ANO MPs Aleš Juchelka then accused the coalition of restricting democracy and “rolling over” the opposition.

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“You are simply trying to bend democracy in the Czech Republic,” Juchelka said after the vote. According to him, the cabinet is trying to enforce the reduction of the June valorization of pensions illegally. According to the opinion of the parliamentary lawyers, cited by Klára Dostálová (ANO) as the chairperson of the meeting, the limitation of speaking time is also possible in the debate on the accelerated discussion of the pension amendment. Cogan justified the proposal to limit the speaking time by saying that the opposition's arguments were repeated in the previous debate and nothing new appeared in it.

The Chamber limited the speaking period for the proposal on the pension growth rate

Minister for Legislation Michal Šalomoun (for the Pirates), whose presence was requested by the opposition at the night meeting, defended the legitimacy of the government's demand for an accelerated discussion of the pension growth adjustment. According to the minister, this was confirmed by two verdicts of the Constitutional Court regarding the pandemic law, which the parliament also enforced in a state of legislative emergency. The need for an abbreviated discussion can arise over time, it can also be caused by laziness in the government's actions, the minister responded to the objections of the opposition, according to which the cabinet should have submitted the proposal last year. ANO MP Jiří Mašek objected that the expected valorization of pensions cannot be compared with the pandemic situation.

The meeting of the House of Representatives on the controversial government proposal started on Tuesday at 10:00 and continued without a break until 02:00 today. SPD chairman Tomio Okamura took care of the record, speaking without a break for seven hours. Before midnight, the debate again slipped into verbal discourse in the form of factual remarks of no more than two minutes, which, according to the rules of procedure, are used to respond to the course of the debate. The opposition claims that there is no reason to discuss the proposal in abbreviated proceedings and threatens a constitutional complaint if the government implements the pension amendment.

The state of legislative emergency was declared at the request of the government by the speaker of the House of Representatives, Markéta Pekarová Adamová (TOP 09). The lower house of parliament must first confirm whether the conditions for the fast-track hearing hold. While Okamura proposed to cancel the state of legislative emergency, the chairman of the constitutional and legal committee Radek Vondráček (ANO) proposed to limit the state of legislative emergency so that it ends by the end of today.

Opposition speakers accused the government of the need for an extraordinary valorization of pensions she knew in advance, but she waited because of the result of the presidential election. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Labor Marian Jurečka (KDU-ČSL) rejects this. According to him, the decisive impetus for the government's proposal was the January inflation figures published by the Czech Statistical Office on February 10. The government amendment assumes that the average monthly pension will increase by 760 crowns from June, instead of the expected 1,770 crowns, as would be the case under the current legal rules. According to the explanatory report, the state will save 19.4 billion crowns this year and 33 billion crowns next year.