In an unprecedented turn of events, the Czech coalition government failed to secure the extension of a parliamentary session until midnight on Tuesday. The proposal, initiated by ODS leader Marek Benda, was met with a tie vote that fell short of the quorum, leading to an unexpected break from the customary late-night sessions of the current legislative term.
The Stumbling Block: A Tie Vote
The initial voting round resulted in a deadlock, with 75 coalition legislators advocating for the extension and an equal number from the opposition contesting it. The proposed extension required a quorum of 77 votes to pass. A challenged vote count from ODS representative Pavel Zacek, who was erroneously recorded as against despite voting in favor, led to a second round of voting.
A Second Attempt and Failure
In the subsequent voting round, the tally stood at 78 votes in favor and 77 against. However, with an increased quorum requirement of 79 due to a higher legislator count, the proposal failed to pass yet again.
Criticism and Absenteeism
The failure of the proposed extension drew criticism from SPD opposition leader Tomio Okamura. He pointed out the conspicuous absence of coalition members on the first day of the session. Some coalition representatives, despite being present in the building, couldn't make it to the voting area in time due to other commitments, including press conferences and interviews.
The Reduced Extension and Agenda
Eventually, the assembly agreed to a truncated extension of the session until 9 PM. The evening's agenda encompassed discussions on laws concerning land, water, and foreign military missions, including the Czech army's plan for international missions in the upcoming year, and the extension of training for Ukrainian soldiers in the Czech Republic until the end of the following year. Other legislative items included amendments to the water law aimed at reducing the risk of water accidents and specifying authorities for remediation and a draft law on the protection of agricultural soil, which would restrict the construction of large shopping and logistics centers and photovoltaic power plants on the highest quality soil.