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, Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Marian Jurečka and Minister of the Interior Vít Rakušan.
Prague – The government's proposal for a lower June pension increase resisted another attempt in the House of Representatives to postpone its consideration. So far, the last proposal in this direction was presented by the chairman of the parliamentary constitutional and legal committee, Radek Vondráček (ANO). In order to resolve the question of the retroactivity of the proposal and the legitimacy of the expectation of a higher valorization of pensions, he wanted to suspend the debate until the draft was discussed by the committee he led. But the coalition majority rejected it. SPD club vice-chairman Radek Rozvoral then asked for a one-hour break in the meeting, which he described as a hygiene break. The House will resume debate at 6:28.
During the night meeting, the SPD club already requested two thirty-minute breaks for club meetings. The ANO club requested a two-hour break already in the evening. According to parliamentary customs, the parliamentary club can request a break for a meeting for the entire business day, totaling no more than two hours.
Labor Minister Marian Jurečka (KDU-ČSL) said after the vote that Vondráčka's proposal was non-votable. He justified this by the fact that, when the House proceeded to consider the proposal in an abbreviated discussion in a state of legislative emergency, it was therefore not expected that the proposal would be discussed in committees. However, Vondráček believes that his proposal was definite and concrete enough to be voted on. “There is no difference between determining the time and the event. Either we put it until March 21, it has already fallen here, or when the potatoes ripen, which would be a problem, because there are different varieties, it would no longer be a vote,” added Vondráček.
The chairman of ANO, Andrej Babiš, had previously unsuccessfully proposed to suspend the discussion until March 21. SPD deputy Jiří Kobza proposed the same thing, but by March 20.
The meeting of the House on the government pension amendment started on Tuesday at 10:00. Now it takes about 68 hours, including breaks. Behind the lengthy discussion is the declared effort of the opposition to prevent the adoption of the law. If the government coalition still passes it, the opposition MPs want to turn to the Constitutional Court.
The meeting of the Chamber of Deputies has been going on for the fourth day, the SPD has taken breaks for a meeting
The meeting of the House of Representatives on the controversial government proposal for a lower June pension increase continues for the fourth day. Part of the night for today was filled with an almost three-hour speech by ANO chairman Andrej Babiš. The opposition tries to prevent the adoption of a lower growth rate of pensions through obstructions, and does not even agree with the abbreviated discussion of the government's amendment. Babiš unsuccessfully proposed to suspend the discussion of the item until March 21. The SPD club requested two half-hour breaks for a meeting after midnight.
SPD deputy Jiří Kobza first suggested postponing the discussion of the item until March 20. But this proposal was rejected by the parliamentary majority. The Chairman of the SPD club, Radim Fiala, then asked for a second 30-minute break for his club's meeting. The House returned to debate at 4:20. SPD MPs speak and sign up to their proposals for amendments to the government bill. More than 50 members of parliament are signing up for the detailed debate.
Thanks to the right of priority, Babiš read out the speeches of five ANO MPs, which they could not read themselves due to the cancellation of the general debate on the amendment. He then interspersed the speeches with his comments directed against the government coalition. He complained, for example, that he had no right to be in politics and that laws directed against him were being passed. He cited, for example, the speech of Jana Pastuchová (ANO), who blamed the government for coming up with the proposal only after the presidential elections. “It's time to take unpopular steps,” he quoted. In the speech of ANO deputy Julio Špičák, for example, it was again stated that it is unacceptable for the Chamber to discuss a draft law in a state of legislative emergency.
“We have to talk him out of it,” Babiš repeated ANO's intention to appeal to the incoming president, Petr Pavel, so that he would not sign the controversial pension amendment in the event that the coalition passes it through both parliamentary chambers. Pavel promised to communicate his intentions with the amendment on Friday, March 10, if it is approved. According to Babiš, it would be enough for the president to postpone the decision on the amendment until after March 22, when the government needs to implement the reduction. If the president took 10 (March) off for 14 days, we pensioners would celebrate,” said Babiš. According to him, Pavel would have the opportunity to fulfill his intention of uniting the company.
At the end of the speech, Babiš proposed to suspend the discussion of the item until 9:00 a.m. on March 21, without further justification. But he failed with the proposal. Coalition MPs immediately began raising counter motions to adjourn for only a few minutes. This made it possible for a sufficient number of deputies to meet in the meeting hall. In addition, STAN MP Ondřej Lochman succeeded in an objection against the management of the meeting by the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Karel Havlíček (ANO). The reason was that Havlíček wanted to have a vote on the adjournment of the meeting even before all the coalition proposals to adjourn the meeting were heard.
Havlíček defended himself by already starting the vote on the first of the counter-proposals. “I think that there are unnecessarily hot heads here and that it is necessary to calm things down a bit,” stated the chairman of the SPD club, Radim Fiala. He therefore asked for a 30-minute break for the meeting, which ended at 2:13.
The opposition movements ANO and SPD have a total of six speakers who can speak with the right of priority. Next to Babiš is SPD leader Tomio Okamura, ANO Deputy Speakers of the House of Representatives Karel Havlíček and Klára Dostálová, and heads of clubs Alena Schillerová and Radim Fiala. If they proceeded in the reading of MPs' speeches in the same way as Babiš, this method of delaying the proceedings of the House could last for a long time. Seven dozen MPs originally signed up for the regular debate.