Budapest, January 24 (MTI) – The Socialist Party has proposed its own solution for managing terrorist threats under which the government would have no more than eight days to impose special measures without parliament’s approval, but would need the backing of two-thirds of lawmakers to implement further measures once the eight-day period is up.
The defence ministry has proposed amending the constitution to include a “state of terrorist threat” among instances that mandate the domestic deployment of the armed forces.
Lawmaker Zsolt Molnár, who heads parliament’s national security committee, said the Socialist Party does not accept the government’s proposal, on the grounds that it “threatens democracy”. Under the amendment currently on the table, the government could declare a state of terrorist threat after a terrorist attack or during a period of a high threat of terrorism. In such an instance, the government would be authorised to pass decrees that would suspend or deviate from certain laws while leaving the provisions of the constitution intact. These decrees would remain effective for 60-day periods and would expire if parliament does not renew them before the 60 days are up.
Molnár said that under his party’s proposal the government could declare a “state of terrorist threat” and immediately impose special measures for an eight-day period, but could not restrict any basic rights. The government could then extend the special measures for no more than 90 days if the extension wins the support of two-thirds of deputies. The deployment of the army would also require a two-thirds parliamentary majority, Molnár said.
Molnár added, however, that the government would under no circumstances be permitted to restrict internet use or press freedom, nor could it monitor citizens’ domestic or international communications.
He said his party would also criminalise joining or financing terrorist groups as well as participation in terrorist propaganda. The party also recommends increasing funding for the TEK counter-terrorism force, the Special Service for National Security, the Constitutional Protection Office and the Coordination Centre against Organised Crime.