Budapest, March 30 (MTI) – Parliament on Wednesday approved an amendment allowing the government to decree changes to budget allocations for priority tasks even if the necessary appropriations can be ensured only at a later time.
Before the amendment, parliamentary approval was generally needed to reshuffle budget appropriations.
The rule capping “extraordinary government measures” in the first half of the fiscal year at 40 percent of annual budget reserves will remain in force.
The opposition Socialist Party said it would turn to President János Áder over the amendment. Lawmaker Sándor Burány, who is also the head of parliament’s budget committee, said his party expects Áder to prevent the government from ruling by decrees through rejecting to sign the bill into law. When asked whether he wanted Áder to ask for a constitutional review of the bill or to send it back to parliament, Burány said the party would leave that decision to the president. Burány added, though, that he believed the best thing to do would be to send the bill to the Constitutional Court. He noted that with the most recent amendment, parliament has amended the budget law 25 times over the last five years.
The Dialogue for Hungary (PM) party said that by passing the amendment the ruling parties had officially introduced a system of “budgeting by decree”. Party spokesman Bence Tordai said ruling Fidesz “has given up on pretending” that Hungary is still a parliamentary democracy. “Seeing as how the prime minister is giving his government total control over spending public funds, Hungary has started down on the path to the government ruling by way of decrees, or totalitarianism,” he said.