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