Budapest, January 25 (MTI) – The opposition LMP party has invited the opposition Socialists and the radical nationalist Jobbik party to talks regarding the government’s proposal to modify the constitution to allow special measures in case of a terrorism threat in the country.
LMP urges opposition parties to come to a joint platform on this issue “so that the government cannot play us against each other,” the party’s co-leader Andras Schiffer told a press conference on Monday. He said that although LMP agrees that the current basic law already offers sufficient protections when it comes to a potential terror threat, the party is open to negotiations. However, it is the government’s responsibility to “tell the public what kind of threats they have information about which warrant these changes,” he said.
LMP is also re-submitting an earlier proposal to amend the penal code with measures that would also sanction the organising of terrorist groupings and help screen terrorists more effectively, Schiffer said.
Bernadett Szel, the party’s other co-leader, urged parliament’s committee for defence and national security to convene so that heads of the relevant ministries can brief committee members on the changes planned.
Schiffer said this seemed like another trick to use the defence minister and military officials as “props”, and a chance to spend hundreds of millions of forints on communication campaigns. “Anyone who cares about people’s security does not play on their fears,” he said, adding that while there could be a heightened sense of threat which even warrants the deployment of military force, current laws are sufficiently robust to deal with these issues.
The defence ministry has proposed amending the constitution to include the notion of “state of terrorist threat” which could mandate the deployment of the armed forces within the country, amongst other powers.
The Socialist Party has proposed as an alternative solution for managing terrorist threats that the government should have no more than eight days to impose special measures without parliament’s approval, and need the backing of two-thirds of lawmakers to implement further measures beyond that timeframe. Radical nationalist Jobbik has also proposed alternative measures.
A demonstration against the constitutional amendment was staged in front of Parliament on Sunday afternoon.