Zagreb - Wearing face masks in the Parliament chamber will be mandatory as of Wednesday, and not more than 41 MPs will be allowed to attend per session, Croatian Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said on Tuesday after a meeting of the Parliament Presidency.
"We have decided that masks will be mandatory for plenary sessions, and we will strictly abide by this. This will no longer be a recommendation, but an obligation," Jandroković told the press, stressing that the decision was made unanimously.
He said that the decision was made in accordance with the recommendations of the Croatian Public Health Institute and medical organisations because of the current epidemiological situation and the fact that one MP was positive for the coronavirus.
Any MP not wearing a face mask will first be cautioned by the chairperson and if they refuse to put it on, they will be asked to leave or face being escorted out by security. "We will not be aggressive, but we must protect MPs' health. We will not wear masks just for our own sake, but to protect others as well," Jandroković said.
The new Parliament will return to the work regime that had been in place during the previous Parliament, that is only 41 of 151 MPs plus the chairperson will be allowed to attend per session.
This number was arrived at by dividing the number of members of each political group by four, as a result of which the ruling HDZ party will be entitled to have 16 MPs present, the Social Democrats nine, the Homeland Movement three, Bridge and the green-left bloc two each, and the other groups one each.
"In that way we will ensure a sufficient physical distance," Jandroković said, adding that the option of electronic voting would also be used.
Parliament begins an extraordinary sitting on Wednesday which will last until the end of next week, while it will sit regularly as of September 16.