Orbán-márch-30-2020
Budapest, Hungary. Photo: MTI

The Hungarian coronavirus law accepted on Monday by the supermajority of PM Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz and their allies, the Christian democrats allows the PM to govern by decrees and without the consent of the parliament. Such strong powers given to the government are without example in the world because there is no deadline; the PM is allowed to give the power back to the legislation when he pleases.

Throughout history, authoritarian leaders have used moments of crisis to seize unchecked power. Hungary’s Orban is the latest example. Now more than ever we must stand up for democracy and rule of law” – this is how Bernie Sanders running for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president of the United States reacted on the decision of Viktor Orbán’s supporters in the Hungarian parliament. 

“With 160,000+ cases and 3,000+ deaths of #COVID19 in the US, you’d better concentrate on the challenges face, instead of raising tension with unfounded statements. “The Nat Assembly may withdraw the authorisation under paragraph (1) before the end of the state of danger.” And that is what Katalin Novák, state secretary for Family and Youth Affairs, posted on her Twitter referring to the law accepted by the parliament on Monday. What she says is true but a

supermajority is needed in the parliament for a decision to claim back the almost unlimited powers granted for the government

and only Viktor Orbán has that majority currently in the Hungarian National Assembly.

The Twitter-fight mentioned above clearly shows that the Hungarian coronavirus law is seen differently by the government and its opposition. Viktor Orbán is in a very good relationship with President Trump, so Bernie Sanders, who pictures himself as the most potent challenger of the acting president, attacked his opponent indirectly through one of his allies.

Anyway, the Hungarian opposition said from the beginning that the law supports only the indefinite power of PM Viktor Orbán by taking the parliament’s rights. Therefore, that is only

the continuation of the authoritarian rule

of the current PM during which he and his party already took control of courts, the parliament, and the media.

Nobody can guarantee that the parliament will be able to take decisions one month later – replied the government, which is why they asked for unlimited power without a deadline. However, for example, in Poland, the parliament has online sittings, and that could have been a viable solution even in Hungary.

According to MTI, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said in a statement that the rapid and efficient actions the national governments have to take against the spread of the virus

should not undermine the fundamental principles and values of the European Union.

She added that the measures should be justified and proportionate, and their effect must have an end date.

Zoltán Kovács, state secretary responsible for international communication and relations, replied that the Hungarian government’s declaring a state of emergency and taking related measures are in compliance with the country’s constitution and European Union treaties. Hungary respects the values of the EU, such as the rule of law and the freedom of the media – the state secretary added.

Meanwhile, the spokesman of the EC said that the commission would evaluate Hungary’s coronavirus law and its implementation. Eric Mamer, answering a question, said that the EC scrutiny would focus on new passages in the Hungarian penal code concerning the spreading of rumours, and said that

the freedoms of expression and those of the media must be respected even in hard times.

 

Source: MTI, Daily News Hungary

2 comments
  1. welcome to kingdom of Hungary with king ORBAN.
    I’m waiting to see when she will be crowned

  2. OPEN LETTER TO SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS :

    I’ll start off by stating – FOR THE RECORD – that I admire you.

    I suspect that you would make a WORTHY OPPONENT to Donald Trump in November but the Democratic Party obviously thinks otherwise and – as a result – you have ‘suspended’ your campaign to win the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in favour of former Vice President Joe Biden.

    HAVING SAID THAT, I strongly disagree with your assessment of both Prime Minister Viktor Orban AND the recently-passed ‘Hungarian coronavirus law’.

    Let us examine both of these issues.

    FIRST, you – together with NUMEROUS other critics (especially within the European Union) – have labelled Prime Minister Orban as being an ‘authoritarian leader’.

    Perhaps I am wrong, but it is MY understanding that an ‘authoritarian leader’ is – in effect – a DICTATOR with limitless power and authority.

    Yet Prime Minister Orban and his ruling coalition have been elected – and re-elected – and re-elected again – by NOT ONLY a majority over the (combined numbers of) opposition parties / members but at the MOST RECENT election his Government achieved what is viewed as being the ‘Holy Grail’ of all democratically-elected Governments – that is a TWO-THIRDS MAJORITY in the Parliament !

    PLEASE NOTE SENATOR SANDERS THAT THIS REFLECTED THE WILL OF MOST HUNGARIAN VOTERS.

    Since his (re)election, the Government has held several ‘national consultations’ in which citizens of Hungary (both within the country and abroad) were invited to submit their views on numerous issues,
    INCLUDING the problematic situation regarding ‘refugees’ / migrants wishing to enter Europe following the DISASTROUS DECISION by Chancellor Angela Merkel to ‘open’ Germany (and by extension other E.U. nations) to such individuals in 2015.

    I find it UTTERLY AMAZING that Chancellor Merkel never once asked Germany’s citizens if THEY approved of her unilateral decisions.

    Neither for that matter did the leaders of France, Italy, the Netherlands and several other E.U. nations who agreed with Chancellor Merkel and let their nations be literally ‘flooded’ with hundreds of thousands ‘refugees’ / migrants. The results of their decisions have created numerous problems in those nations with very few benefits.

    Let us go back to Prime Minister Orban.

    How can it be stated that he is an AUTHORITARIAN RULER when decisions made by his Government reflect the DEMOCRATIC WILL of most Hungarians – at the ballot box and again later through their input via questionnaires ?

    There is NO DOUBT that the opposition parties / members feel totally useless but that is NOT surprising when one considers the fact that these (groups of) individuals reflect various versions of SOCIALISM / MARXISM / COMMUNISM / LENINISM / STALINISM.

    Hungary and its inhabitants were subjected to the brutal and corrupt rule of those political entities for about 50 YEARS – that is about TWO GENERATIONS – so most Hungarians were utterly ‘fed up’ with the PIGS (with reference to George Orwell and his famous book “ANIMAL FARM” in which he writes –
    “ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL BUT SOME [i.e. the pigs = ruling elite] ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS”).

    It is NO WONDER that adherents to those philosophies have been shown the ‘middle finger’ by Hungarian voters.

    AGAIN, SENATOR SANDERS, PLEASE NOTE THIS IS DEMOCRACY – NOT AUTHORITARIAN RULE – AT WORK.

    Now let us move onto the recently-passed ‘Hungarian coronavirus law’.

    In case you are not aware, this law ONLY gives the Prime Minister authority to make decisions relating to the present international / national crisis regarding Covid 19. Nothing more and nothing less.

    Yes, in some respects it by-passes Parliament but – in emergency situations – that is required.

    One only has to examine the total CHAOS throughout most other E.U. nations – and the European Commission itself – to understand that a STRONG HAND (acting purely in the national interest) is required in such extra-ordinary times.

    Nothing is going to be achieved by ‘navel gazing’ and sitting around a camp-fire singing KUMBAYA.

    The opposition parties / members in Hungary are all complaining that they have been relegated to obscurity but nonetheless Prime Minister Orban and his Government have listened to any constructive comments they made / make and incorporated those into the NATIONAL RESPONSE.

    PLEASE NOTE, SENATOR SANDERS – THE ‘NATIONAL RESPONSE’, NOT THAT OF PRIME MINISTER ORBAN OR THE GOVERNMENT.

    You and some other commentators have noted that there is no ‘deadline’ for this law.

    In fact, a few ‘enlightened’ individuals (including one interviewer from C.N.N. = CONTINUOUS. NEGLIGENT.NONSENSE) have gone so far as to state categorically that Hungary’s Parliament has ceased to function as a result of this law.

    WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.

    The law will CEASE when the National Assembly or Parliament so decrees – either BEFORE or AT the end of this present emergency.

    Should the present Government use its ‘supermajority’ to EXTEND the law beyond that time, then Hungary’s voters will ENSURE that Mr. Orban and his Government are ‘punished’ at the next general election.

    You see, Senator Sanders, Hungarian citizens – having been under Nazi / Communist rule for half a century – are MUCH SMARTER than voters in the United States. Otherwise YOU would not have put so much effort into defeating President Trump.

    So please don’t worry, we Hungarians can take of ourselves – but thank you very much for your concern.

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