Budapest, November 25 (MTI) – Although European Union institutions can sometimes block some of the government’s measures, only Hungary’s Left is capable of restoring the democratic rule of law, Socialist leader Jozsef Tobias said on Wednesday.
“Replacing the regime of [Prime Minister] Viktor Orban is our job and responsibility,” Tobias said at a conference organised by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and the Tancsics Foundation. Over the past five years, Hungary has seen the deepening of a democracy crisis, he said.
The Left has to be more than a democratic opposition to ruling Fidesz, he said, adding that it must also help in eliminating the country’s democratic deficit.
He said Hungary could not afford to simply return to the constitutional framework of the early 1990s but instead needs to find more radical but lawful ways to overcome Hungary’s problems. He said the Left needs to accept the fact that the politically active portion of society tends to reject political parties, adding however, that it must also take note of the high level of support for a “turnaround in society” among these groups. Hungary needs a system which aims to build a relationship with and trust among the politically active part of society.
Tobias said professional and political organisations were right to criticise Hungary’s current constitution which entered into effect in 2011, adding that people who had predicted that the government was not looking to govern based on consensus decision-making.
Former German justice minister Herta Daubler-Gmelin said Hungarian citizens should be encouraged to make use of the options available to them in having their voices heard. She said that instead of just turning to Hungarian courts, they should also turn to the European Court of Human Rights when they have complaints. She said that more than 2,300 Hungarian citizens turned to the ECtHR in 2014 and more than 1,500 people had submitted complaints by July 2015. She said that the majority of cases that the court rules on do not end with a decision against the government, but when it does, the government complies with the ruling.
Jan Niklas Engels, head of the Hungarian office of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, said that 26 years ago the foundation opened its office in Hungary in order to help with the country’s transition to democracy. He said that from a certain point of view, this conference would determine whether the foundation had fulfilled its mission of strengthening the rule of law and freedom of speech.