The Government Should Stop Its Coup-Like Modifications of the Hungarian Constitution

Abusing their two-third parliamentary majority, Viktor Orbán and his government in a new wave of “coup-like” amendments to the constitution wants to elevate to constitutional status a number of laws that were previously struck down by the Constitutional Court. Fidesz-KDNP wishes to cement for ever such anti-democratic ideas contradictory to European, even, universal values, which not so long ago it was forced to revoke under the pressure of the European institutions. By doing so, the government is depriving Hungarian citizens of their liberties, and again challenging international, public democratic players defending our rights.

The discriminatory definition of family, the criminalisation of the homeless, the restrictions on the recognition of churches based on potential party political aspects, the narrowing of the framework of jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court, the binding state-funded university students to the Hungarian soil after their studies which is a brutal restriction in the area of the liberty of free movement of people, and reducing equal opportunity at the elections amongst competitors are being submitted by way of a private member bill once again. The planned amendments and the unacceptable procedure have with reason provoked a negative response within the EU and elsewhere. We should not be surprised by the outrage of European public opinion, by the articles in the international press written in an unprecedentedly harsh tone, and by the expressions of concern and warnings by prominent foreign politicians. The government is indeed playing with fire now: the suspension of Hungary’s voting rights at the Council of the European Union and the withholding of EU funds have been suggested in strong and unambiguous terms as a consequence.

The rapid law-making process carried out despite the protests of Hungarian democratic political forces, numerous civic groups and experts, as well as international criticism is increasing political tension in the country and Hungary’s isolation in the world. Nobody can think seriously that Hungarian citizens have authorised the government to take this political course. The Fidesz-KDNP alliance has not learnt from the last three years: the perception of the Hungarian political regime competes with countries where a limitation of human rights and an infringement of basic democratic rights serve to secure the power of a narrow elite. Let’s not allow Fidesz-KDNP to use its power for the full dismantling of the rule of law, so that Europe rightly denounces Hungary as undemocratic. Let’s prevent Hungary from turning its back on Europe.

Budapest, 10 March 2013