The opposition Jobbik party said on Tuesday it was nearing completion of its collection of signatures needed to appeal to the Constitutional Court. Jobbik is contesting the recently approved Fidesz law on party financing.
Jobbik lawmaker Gábor Staudt told a news conference that the ruling Fidesz party had broken house rules by making excessive adjustments to its original law which went above and beyond the objections that the president made to the law when he sent it back to parliament. Staudt argued that the altered law was passed with a simple majority when its provisions in fact required a two-thirds majority, since bans on certain types of party financing fell into the latter category.
Last Friday parliament passed an amendment tightening regulations on political billboard advertising, replacing a law previously passed by parliament banning political billboard ads outside campaign periods that President János Áder had returned to lawmakers for reconsideration.
The amendment on the protection of cityscapes which only needed a simple majority to pass was approved with 123 votes in favour and 68 against.
The amendments in the law stipulate that organisations that receive direct or indirect budgetary support must pay the listed market price for political billboard adverts. Further, contracts on placing such adverts must be submitted to the relevant authority to be published on its website. The authority is charged with removing any ads placed unlawfully within two days.
The amended legislation applies EU standard public procurement rules in the case of any negotiation over listed market prices for outdoor advertising.
Under the law, a fine of 150,000 forints (EUR 485) will be levied for unlawful placement per billboard. The new regulation also covers ads placed on public transport vehicles.
The original bill on the financing of political ad campaigns failed last week due to the lack of a two-thirds majority. Parts of the law were then approved with a simple majority. President Áder returned this law to parliament.
Opposition Jobbik party’s group leader told a news conference that Jobbik would turn to the Constitutional Court over the law, which he said was an attempt by the ruling Fidesz party to silence Jobbik’s election campaign. This kind of law which affects political parties and their financing normally requires a two-thirds majority to pass, János Volner noted, adding that Fidesz had resorted to legal trickery to pass the law with a simple majority.