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Incredible! Even the Coalition Has Had Enough of the Speaker of the National Assembly’s Mobbing!

A new day, a new fiasco of Urška Klakočar Zupančič, the Speaker of the National Assembly. This time, she began with the mobbing of the deputies who were not present at the start of the session at the very first moment possible. The leader of the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) parliamentary group, Jelka Godec, pointed this out to the Speaker in a procedural proposal, explaining that the establishing of whether an MP’s absence is justified or not is the task of the National Assembly services and not the Speaker of the National Assembly, whom Godec also reminded of the fact that she is not in a courtroom. “There is a gavel in front of you, which you often pound, but this does not mean that you are in a courtroom, nor are you in a school hall or a classroom. We are not schoolchildren, we are not convicts, we are not witnesses in court – we are deputies, elected by the people, and you are first among equals.” The leader of the Social Democrats (SD) parliamentary group, Jani Prednik, also pointed out that Klakočar Zupančič is not above the deputies, adding that her arbitrary implementation of new practices is harmful.

Article 63 of the Rules of Procedure of the National Assembly is clear. It asks of the Speaker of the National Assembly that he or she, at the beginning of the session, informs the present deputies which of their colleagues has informed the Speaker that they have other obligations and will not be able to attend the session. According to the second point of the Article, the Speaker must also inform those gathered of who was invited to the session. However, at Thursday’s session, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Urška Klakočar Zupančič, took the liberty to also inform the Members of Parliament about who, in her opinion, is unjustifiably absent, which upset both the deputies of the opposition, as well as those from the coalition. And they had good reason for it.

“We will demand your resignation as well”
But Urška Klakočar Zupančič did not budge. In her response to the head of the SDS parliamentary group, Jelka Godec, she announced that she does not intend to give up this new practice, so Godec then had another procedural proposal, and this time made her point even clearer: “In my opinion, this is mobbing of the MPs. This is mobbing, and not only of those who I am talking about but also the other MPs, who will go to lunch at 12.05 p.m., who will go to their offices to prepare their positions, who will go to the meetings of their parliamentary groups. If you intend to continue with this practice, we will demand your resignation as well.” Godec then further highlighted some other violations by the Speaker of the National Assembly, such as commenting on the debate among MPs when it is not even her turn to do that.

The coalition’s Social Democrats were also disappointed due to the Speaker’s arrogance
The deputies from the Freedom Movement party (Gibanje svoboda), of which Klakočar Zupančič is also a member, then tried to end this debate. The first to ask for the floor was MP Darko Kranjec, who tried to justify the actions of his party colleague with a rather liberal interpretation of the rules of procedure, and then another party colleague of hers attempted to do the same, as she tried to sweep the matter under the rug with her call for a faster continuation of the session. But not long after, the leader of the parliamentary group of the Social Democrats, Jani Prednik, came forward and said: “Dear Speaker of the National Assembly, look, I myself was also mentioned as if I were not here. This is some new practice you are establishing. But you are not above us; you are only the first among equals. I myself was also in the National Assembly when you named me as being absent; otherwise, I would not have been able to come into the hall in three minutes. All of us, including the deputies of the Freedom Movement, will hold all types of meetings during our government term, and some of them will coincide with the sessions. Therefore, let’s not try to establish a new order,” Prednik was critical in his response.

Jožef Horvat: This was a slip-up
And then Jožef Horvat, the MP from the New Slovenia party (NSi) joined the debate, saying: “Dear Speaker of the National Assembly, it is true, the people must know what is going on. And I would like to inform the Slovenian people that what happened to the Speaker of the National Assembly today was just a slip-up, but there is no need to worry; this happens to everyone. What I am talking about is the fact that the Speaker read that MP Franc Horvat wants to apologise for being absent from today’s session. But a Member of Parliament with this name does not exist. However, the services of the New Slovenia party group did send in my justification for being absent yesterday already, and I am Jožef Horvat, and from 4 p.m. onwards I will not be present, namely, because I am going to Ptuj, where I have a very important job to do in the Ptuj constituency.”

Andrej Žitnik

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