Tamás Cserép | Apr 19, 2019 | 1
Parliament in session – Lawmakers hold debate on const amendment on migrant quotas
Budapest, October 17 (MTI) – The need to amend the constitution arises when the country faces such challenges to which a wrong response could alter Hungary for the long-term or forever, Lajos Kósa, the head of ruling Fidesz’s parliamentary group, said in Parliament on Monday.
Speaking after Prime Minister Viktor Orbán made his opening remarks to the tabled constitutional amendment on EU migrant quotas, Kósa said Hungary must “remain the same country it has been known as for a long time”.
József Szájer, a MEP for Fidesz, said the amendment is in line with current trends, EU laws and basic treaty and the Lisbon Treaty.
Addressing the debate, leader of the opposition Jobbik party said the Oct. 2 referendum had not created a “new united bloc” as Orbán had suggested in his opening remarks. Gábor Vona said it is “not in line with reality and also incredible” that such unity would emerge after the referendum, as there are more people in Hungary who oppose the EU migrant quota plan than who participated in the public vote. “Many people did not vote because they disagree with Orbán holding political power,” he said. At the same time Jobbik will take part in the debate as a “patriotic duty” and will also take part in enacting a “strong and effective” constitutional protection against migrant quotas.
The opposition LMP party will take part in the debate but will not vote on the seventh constitutional amendment, the party’s co-leader Ákos Hadházy said. He said the amendment “pretends to be about migration” but in reality it does not provide answers to the problems of refugees and asylum-seekers. He added that Hungarians are in fear over the issue of migration which the government increased with its “hate campaign”. The amendment is also of a “low standard” in terms of using legal concepts that do not exist, he added. Bernadett Szél, the party’s other leader, said the debate about the constitutional amendment is a “simple diversion” from issues such as low wages, poor health care and government corruption.
The opposition Socialists will not take part in the constitutional amendment process, staying away both from the debate and the vote, the party’s deputy group leader said. Lászlo Varga said Fidesz is not authorised to amend the constitution and the prime minister and governing parties are using the voice of a small minority as a reference. “This is what a dictator does,” to force a minority’s will onto the majority to serve its own power interests, he said, adding that the Socialists will not assist to such “power tactics”.
Liberal Party leader Gábor Fodor said his party would not support the amendment, adding that the Liberals believed in a “stronger, more federalist Europe” as against Fidesz’s “loose alliance of nation states”.
Speaking at a press conference outside the parliament chamber, the leftist opposition Democratic Coalition’s (DK) the party’s deputy leader, László Varju, said that by moving towards a constitutional amendment, the government had ignored the will of some five million people who stayed away from the government’s “sham referendum”. Orbán is not authorised to pass such an amendment, he said. “This is a day of mourning for democracy; the day that the parliamentary system was humiliated.” A “new united bloc” has formed not in support of but against Orbán, he insisted, urging all opposition parties to boycott the vote.