We have summarised the 5 most disgusting things about the new Hungarian law which grants Orban total control.
On Monday, March 30th, the Hungarian Parliament passed a law pertaining to measures needed to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the widespread protest against the law, including a petition with 100,000 signatures, the Fidesz dominated Parliament voted for it, extending the State of Emergency indefinitely.
The passing of the law created huge controversy. We have gathered the 5 most controversial aspects of the law.
1. The State of Emergency does not expire, and it lasts until the pandemic ends
The opposition parties had the most issues with this point. According to the Constitution, any decrees made in a State of Emergency expire after 15 days, unless ratified by Parliament. The opposition wanted to extend this to 30 or 90 days. However, this was not enough for Orban, who needed to extend the State of Emergency indefinitely. Fidesz ignored all amendments, and decided that Orban can rule by decree until the pandemic ends. But when does the pandemic end?
2. The pandemic ends when Orban says so
The State of Emergency is over when the pandemic has ended. But it is the Parliament that gets to decide when the pandemic is over, and since Fidesz controls two thirds of the seats, it’s the prime minister who gets to decide when the pandemic is over. There are no other checks or balances; the danger is over when they decide.
3. Orban can make up the laws as he wishes
From now on, Orban can make decrees whenever and about whatever topic he wants, even if it violates the constitution. Orban is not held back by any constraints. In effect, the words of Orban have become the law.
4. Orban can jail politicians and newspaper journalists.
The new amendment – which regulates ‘fake news’ – can be interpreted to jail journalists and politicians if Orban does not like or agree with what they write, in effect curtailing freedom of speech and of the media.
5. Waste of time and energy
Every legal tool needed to combat the pandemic was already in the hands of the government. For instance, they were able to close the borders and ask people to stay at home. It is only Orban’s megalomania that motivated this law. The resources used to draft and debate this law could have been spent combating the virus: Fidesz lawmakers could have voted to raise the salary of medical workers for the brave work they have been doing, or used it to compensate those who cannot work.