ZAGREB, September 1, 2020 – Parliamentary party whips, both right and left wing, said on Tuesday they would honour the obligations regarding wearing masks in parliament, remote voting and a reduced number of MPs in the chamber, although some criticised how decisions were made.
Deputy Speaker and Homeland Movement president Miroslav Skoro told press that parliament’s presidency “unanimously decided to introduce the obligation to wear masks during sittings at the advice of all experts, epidemiologists.”
Asked what would happen if Homeland Movement MP Karolina Vidovic Kristo continued to refuse to wear a mask, Skoro said that if someone disregarded the obligation, “they will be removed from the sitting.”
As for electronic voting, he said that since a number of MPs might end up in self-isolation, the functioning of parliament must be ensured.
Petrov: Bridge called for electronic voting six months ago
Bridge leader Bozo Petrov said he asked for electronic voting six months ago as well as for all parliamentary work to be possible online so that all MPs could participate in it.
That should be ensured for those who can’t be in parliament because they are ill, though not just for voting but for debates too, he added.
“It makes no sense for parliament to change its Standing Orders, which are at the level of a law, according to measures proposed by the national COVID response team which have not been adopted in any way, nor did the team come to parliament to explain on the basis of which decisions, information and views it is adopting such measures.”
A body created by the government is adopting measures which are not included in a law and then parliament, which should be a legislative body independent of the government, adopts those measures as a law under which we should all behave, Petrov said.
The way in which COVID measures are being adopted recalls “the dictatorship Croatia went through,” he said. That’s crazy and everyone should have the right to ask why and receive a well-argued response, not ‘because I say so,’ he added.
Petrov said the team should have come to parliament to explain why masks must be mandatory in a well-argued and scientific way, not provisorily and arbitrarily, and asked for MPs’ confirmation.
Tomasevic: We support presidency’s measures
The leader of the We Can! platform, Tomislav Tomasevic, said his parliamentary group supported the measures established by parliament’s presidency, including the obligation for MPs to wear masks.
He added, however, that a political debate on the legal aspect of the COVID response team’s decisions which restricted human rights was legitimate.
Social Democratic Party whip Arsen Bauk said their group had no problem with the obligation to wear masks in parliament, remote voting or the reduced number of MPs in the chamber due to COVID measures.