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MPs told off for 'undignified' protests

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NEOS posters in parliament: "Sorry, closed due to budget tricks". Photo: APA
10:48 CEST+02:00
Austrian president Heinz Fischer has complained about undignified protests in parliament, particularly during this week's budget debate.
Members of the liberal NEOS party participated in planned walk-outs, and brought in props such as air mattresses, rubber rings and brightly coloured posters covered in slogans for the benefit of TV viewers. 
MPs should realise that such exaggerated protests "denigrate parliament, and will damage its image," Fischer told the Salzburger Nachrichten. 
Fischer was not the only one concerned about the image of parliament being beamed into millions of living rooms via Austrian national television. 
Speaker of parliament Barbara Prammer said she had received many messages of complaint from viewers. People could not understand "the manner in which the budget deliberations were being conducted,” she said. 
Meanwhile, there was also concern about absentee MPs. Conservative People’s Party (ÖVP) faction leader in parliament Reinhold Lopatka has suggested fines for those staying away.
MPs from the ÖVP and SPÖ governing parties placed pink bathing wear and other items symbolising summer holidays, on the desks of absent NEOS MPs.
The Salzburger Nachrichten reported that Prammer already suggested a while ago that absentee MPs be fined, as well as those who violated the dignity of parliamentary proceedings.
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