ANO Pushes Plan to Control Debate in Chamber of Deputies

Prague, Feb 3 (CTK) – A special working group comprised of representatives of all parties in the Czech Chamber of Deputies and lawyers from both the Chamber and the Justice Ministry has been established to deal with possible changes to the Chamber’s order of procedure, its press section has told media.


The group is expected to propose changes enjoying a broad support in parliament.


“The [planned] changes to the law on the order of procedure should mainly make the Chamber’s work and the passing of laws more effective, while the chance for individual deputies to express their views during all phases of the legislative process should be preserved and the rights of the opposition respected,” the press section wrote.


The group is also expected to propose ways to make the regular question time in parliament, in which lawmakers address questions to members of the cabinet once a week on Thursday afternoons, more attractive.


The group has been established by Radek Vondracek, the lower house chairman from the ANO movement that proposed changes to the house’s order of procedure in the previous election time already. They largely met with other parties’ disagreement.


The most criticised was ANO’s proposal to introduce “structured debate” at plenary sessions. In the debates, a certain period of time should be “allotted” to each bill and divided among parties’ groups, ANO suggested. Critics said this would restrict democratic discussion.


Another potential aim is the reduction of the number of MPs with the preferential right to speak in parliament and a prolongation of the deadline for passing bills.


Furthermore, the working group may discuss a shortening of the breaks deputies’ groups request for internal consultations. At present, groups are each supposed to request a two-hour break a day at the most, but this is a custom that is not embedded in the order of procedure, which therefore would not need to be changed in this respect.


The press section also wrote that Vondracek has initiated the establishment of a special working group in the lower house to deal with anti-corruption bills.