Hungary Adopts Controversial Constitution Amendments

Bulgaria in EU | March 11, 2013, Monday // 20:45|  views

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban pushes the button during the voting of the modified Fourth Amendment of the Basic Law in the Parliament building in Budapest, Hungary, 11 March 2013. EPA/BGNES

The parliament of Hungary has adopted constitution amendments set to consolidate even more powers at the hands of the executive, provoking a swift condemnation from European institutions.

"These amendments raise concerns with respect to the principle of the rule of law, EU law and Council of Europe standards," said European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland in a joint statement.

The two leaders stated that the EU and CE have had not time enough to assess the exact import of the amendments, and that they hope that Hungary will cooperate "to address any concerns raised."

Among the amendments are provisions curbing the right of the Constitutional Court to annul legislation passed with 2/3 majority, an abolition of the president's power of veto, as well as stronger control over media and university education.

The amendments were passed at the Hungarian Parliament in a vote Monday, with 265 votes for, 11 against and 33 abstentions.

The ruling Fidesz party and its minor Christian Democratic ally have a huge 263-MP majority in the 386-seat parliament.

Since assuming power in 2010, the cabinet of Hungarian PM and Fidesz chair Viktor Orban has implemented a number of constitutional and legislative changes concentrating power in the executive.

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Tags: Hungary, amendments, Council of Europe, CE, EU, European Commission, Fidesz, Viktor Orban, Jose Manuel Barroso, Thorbjorn Jagland, rule of law, Constitutional Court, veto, media, universities


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