House Speaker Opens Parlt Session amid Opposition Protest
MTI-Hungary Today 2018.12.12.
As opposition lawmakers blocked the way to the speaker’s dais in a bid to disrupt the planned vote on the labour code amendment, Speaker of Parliament László Kövér opened Wednesday’s parliamentary session from his lawmaker’s seat in the assembly.
The proposed amendment envisages increasing annual overtime from 250 hours to 400 hours and was the focus of a demonstration attended by unions and opposition parties in Budapest at the weekend.
Kövér called on lawmakers of the Socialist-Párbeszéd and Democratic Coalition parties to stop disrupting parliament’s “lawful procedure”. They face disciplinary measures according to the house rules and their degree will be decided at a later point, he said, adding that additional punitive action may be taken.
The opposition MPs remained standing in front of the ministers’ benches amid loud jeers and whistling.
Democratic Coalition (DK) leader Ágnes Vadai noted at a press conference on Wednesday that Speaker of Parliament László Kövér on Monday “was ready to have the opposition removed from the plenary session,” during a demonstration against the planned vote.
The opposition attempted to filibuster the amendment on Monday by submitting 2,925 amendment proposals, Vadai said.
After parliament decided to hold a single vote on the proposals as a package, opposition parties disrupted the session by shouting and whistling, she said.
Vadai said that at this point the Parliamentary Guard was “lined up” on the corridors and near the entrances to the assembly hall. Vadai said that Kövér “was preparing to illegally remove the opposition from Parliament”.
The speaker is only allowed to deploy the guard if a lawmaker becomes violent or threatens violence, or when a banned lawmaker refuses to leave the room, Vadai said.
DK wants to discuss the issue at parliament’s defence committee and at the house-rules committee, she said.