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Monday, April 22, 2024

The absolutism of the President of the National Assembly or how Urška Klakočar Zupančič denies even parliamentary questions to the opposition

By: Domen Mezeg (Nova24tv.si)

“Jelka Godec at the collegium of the President of the National Assembly decidedly: The opposition has, among other things, a supervisory function of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia. Do not blame us for making a “show”. I and my MPs will not be silent. Democratic instruments cannot and will not be taken away from us in a democracy,” the SDS parliamentary group wrote.

At the 35th regular session of the collegium of the President of the National Assembly, at the request of the SDS parliamentary group, the violation of the rules of procedure by Urška Klakočar Zupančič was discussed. The latter often interprets the rules of procedure in her own way, and her behaviour belongs more to absolutism than to a democratic institution. Recently, SDS MPs were not satisfied with the events at the last regular session, on Tuesday 22nd February, when the new Minister of the Interior, Boštjan Poklukar, was confirmed. At the start of the procedure, the President of the National Assembly decided to suspend the session for one hour, because “the proposer was supposedly busy”, thereby violating Article 66 of the Rules of Procedure. The head of the SDS parliamentary group Jelka Godec tried to obtain an explanation for such a decision based on some procedural proposals. The Rules of Procedure allow for the absence of the proposer when his item is considered. Godec emphasised that she had been deprived of her right to speak and to have matters conducted according to the Rules of Procedure. The President of the National Assembly, however, defended herself by saying that the Rules of Procedure allow the person presiding over the session to interrupt it without prior explanation.

Klakočar also sharply rejected her in connection with submitting further procedural proposals. Godec’s explanation was not satisfactory, and the MPs of the largest opposition party left the hall when Golob’s explanation began. Godec believes that Klakočar Zupančič acted arbitrarily. The latter, on the other hand, defended herself by saying that she had decided to suspend because there were extraordinary and unexpected private reasons of the proposer. However, she admitted her haste in limiting procedural suggestions. Godec at the collegium of the President of the National Assembly: “These are six SDS parliamentary questions, which were clearly unpleasant, given that they were rejected. But I repeat: it is a legislative branch of government, which has a supervisory function, and in relation to the government, it is the one that supervises or has the possibility to supervise the work of the government through parliamentary questions.” Godec also added that they have the option of filing interpellations, laws, etc. and that this cannot be denied to both the opposition and the coalition. “You cannot take that in a democracy!” she said firmly. The tools of the opposition are: interpellation, vote of no confidence in the government, etc. She called on the President of the National Assembly not to pretend and claim that the opposition is putting on a “show”. She also warned that things could turn around and “then they will see who is going to put on a “show” (this was a criticism of Svoboda MP Borut Sajovic). Ever since Klakočar Zupančič took office, her arbitrariness has been unmistakable. It has already happened several times that she rejected the opposition’s written parliamentary question, thus violating the Rules of Procedure of the National Assembly and restricting the work of the MPs. The President of the National Assembly defends herself, however, that it is an established practice. At the end of January of this year, for example, she rejected a written parliamentary question by SDS MP Karmen Furman, supposedly out of fear.

Devaluing the function of the President of the National Assembly: dancing on the carpet, a boxing tournament in the Parliament…

The parliamentary question referred to the Minister of Health, Danijel Bešič Loredan, who is one of the four members of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia who have permission for additional work in addition to ministerial duties. Even before that, she rejected the parliamentary question of Godec, who was interested in the Prime Minister’s “identity theft”. Ever since the beginning of Klakočar Zupančič’s mandate, it has been unmistakable that she needs a lot of attention. In addition to political rants, there are red-carpet outbursts, primitive verbal attacks on interlocutors in TV shows (at the same time taken out of the context of the conversation), boxing tournaments in parliament and sinfully expensive semi-private trips with the government falcon. With her appearance, for the first time in Slovenian history, the function of the President of the National Assembly is receiving approximately as much attention as the function of the President of the Republic. Definitely in a negative sense. It is a devaluation of the state function.


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