Parties ready to approve draft for constitutional amendment on terror, says minister
Budapest, April 22 (MTI) – Hungary’s political parties held another round of talks on Friday on changing the constitution to allow the authorities to handle a potential terrorist threat.
Defence Minister István Simicskó said text for the bill would allow the government to secure a “terror emergency” in the case of a terrorist attack or a “serious, direct terrorist threat” with a two-thirds majority in parliament. A maximum of 15 days would be available to put special measures in place, including deploying the military, he said.
The minister said it was regrettable that the opposition Socialists had not taken part in the talks but they would also be sent a copy of the bill in its latest form. The bill should be ready for submission by the ruling Fidesz parliamentary next week.
Lajos Kósa, the head of Fidesz’s parliamentary group, told a press conference after the multi-party talks that the bill is necessary to allay fears about the powers of the police in itself being insufficient to handle such situations as a terror emergency.
Radical nationalist Jobbik and opposition LMP, both present at talks, said the draft bill was “a starting point for talks”.
Ádám Mirkóczki, a lawmaker for Jobbik, said his party welcomed that passages were removed from the bill which would have given the government excessive powers. He said there were still “open questions” but he saw a “good chance” that the Fidesz proposal could be backed with broad support.
András Schiffer, head of the LMP group, said it was a step forward that the government was no longer attempting to push through plans for “total legal control”, but he insisted that Fidesz must still explain why the situation needs a constitutional amendment and why legislative changes proposed by the interior minister are not enough.