Budapest, January 27 (MTI) – It is the government’s responsibility to prove that there is a legitimate need to amend the constitution to manage terrorist threats, green LMP party co-leader Andras Schiffer told public Kossuth Radio on Wednesday.
The defence ministry has proposed amending the constitution to include a “state of terrorist threat” among instances that mandate the domestic deployment of the armed forces.
Schiffer said that since it was the government that had proposed the amendments, “it is only natural” that it has more information on the subject than the opposition, and it must therefore be specific as to why the constitution must be amended.
Schiffer noted that the constitution already allows for the deployment of the army when the country is faced with threats of terrorism and there are currently five instances specified that allow for special measures to be enforced for national security reasons.
He said the Socialists and the radical nationalist Jobbik party had not yet elaborated on their decision to stay away from a meeting that LMP called for Monday on the subject. Schiffer said it was “strange” that they did not show up since “the opposition parties agree on several points concerning the issue”.
Schiffer said the opposition will have to agree on the terms along which they are willing to negotiate with the government before the next five-party meeting.
Under the amendment proposal currently on the table, the government could declare a state of terrorist threat after a terrorist attack or during a period of a high threat of terrorism. In such an instance, the government would be authorised to pass decrees that would suspend or deviate from certain laws while leaving the provisions of the constitution intact. These decrees would remain effective for 60-day periods and would expire if parliament does not renew them before the 60 days are up.
On Tuesday, Fidesz lawmaker Szilard Nemeth said the purpose of the amendment is to ensure the security of Hungarian families and insisted that the ruling party refuses to compromise on the issue.
The Socialists have proposed their own methods for managing terrorist threats and have called on Fidesz to “give genuine answers” to them.
The Fidesz proposal needs a two-thirds majority in parliament to pass and therefore the ruling party must rely on votes from the opposition.