Summary

  • To arguments directed from other Members of Parliament, speakers usually chose to respond only to some of the arguments while ignoring and distorting the arguments rather than directly facing them and giving an answer. 71% of the cases fall onto the members of the opposition when Members of Parliament answered directed arguments. 71% of the cases fall onto the members of the majority in which the speakers totally distort the arguments and 66% of the cases in which they ignore the directed arguments.
  • The positions and arguments of Members of Parliament remained constant during the discussions. This points to the hard initial positions of Members of Parliament before they enter the halls of Parliament and the small flexibility for changing positions, i.e. the reticence towards the arguments of other speakers. In 50% of the cases the speakers didn’t even acknowledge the value of the arguments of the other speakers.
  • The biggest attention with MPs was caused by the discussions regarding public finances, i.e. first regarding the rebalance of the Budget for 2016, and then regarding the adoption of Budget for 2017 and the debates regarding the floods in the Skopje region.
  • According to the type of discussions the percentage of speeches in parliamentary debates rose, while the percentage in replies and counter-replies dropped. In this period 31% of the discussions where speeches which is the highest percentage to date compared with the previously monitored periods. This is probably due to the two budget debates in which the speakers had longer time to speak.
  • In the period from 1 July until 17 October, 2016 the level of argumentation of the discussions rose, which, for the most part, again, is mostly due to the higher percentage of speeches due to the longer discussion time which the MPs had in both budget debates. More than two arguments are identified in 9% of the discussion, two arguments in 13% and one argument in 42% of the discussions which is the highest level compared to previously monitored periods. In addition, opposition MPs have a greater share in all degrees of argumentation.
  • The MPs more often expressed various forms of disrespect towards the personality of their colleagues from the opposite political options, rather than towards their arguments. Respect is expressed in only 4% of cases, and partial respect in as much as 39% of cases. In 6% there was total disrespect, that is, the speakers in their discussions used abusive speech and expressions or attacks on the person or party of other MPs.
  • 11% of the discussions were interrupted in the presentation by other MPs. These are interruptions lasted up to 10 seconds and were consisted mostly by side-comments of MPs who were not given the floor at the moment. After the interruptions, the speakers continued their presentations. In 7% of cases, MPs indicated that they were obstructed to express their views by the speakers.
  • Opposition MPs were more active in the discussions on the topics monitored. The opposition speakers account for 60% of the discussions, while the remaining 40% are those of the majority.

The complete report from the monitoring of the debate is available on the following link:

Report from the monitoring of the debate quality in the Parliament (July-October 2016)