We, the undersigned legal experts and scholars from law, philosophy and the social sciences, endorse the following petition:

On April 18th the Hungarian Parliament will decide on the adoption of a new constitution for the Republic of Hungary. While we welcome the effort to create a new constitution for the country to overcome the technical deficiencies of the revised constitution of 1989, we consider the draft of the FIDESZ/KDNP coalition and the way it is adopted deeply disturbing.

The draft constitution

  • effectively abolishes large parts of constitutional review, possibly disabling the Constitutional Court as a politically independent body, gives leeway for the enactment of unconstitutional law and thereby undermines the rule of law,
  • declares the inconsistent and ideologically lopsided preamble and the legally undefinable „historical constitution” as binding for its interpretation, can be understood to delegitimize the entire constitutional law and jurisdiction of the last 20 years, and thus obviates any well grounded assertion of what the constitution actually says and thereby further undermines the rule of law,
  • severely restricts the scope of action of future governments unless they command a 2/3 majority,
  • has been written at the whim of the current government, is being enacted without both framework and time for proper deliberation and without sufficient participation by the opposition and the public and will therefore suffer from severe legitimacy deficiencies.

Hungary is not only a member state of the European Union, but an integral part of the European sphere of legal and constitutional culture. Hungarians have long struggled for their „Return to Europe“. Based on the existing constitution, Hungary’s world-renowned Constitutional Court has made a rich contribution to European constitutionalism. We are deeply worried that, by passing this document, Hungary risks its reputation as a model of a new constitutional democracy rising from an authoritarian regime. Following the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, we appeal to the leaders of the coalition parties FIDESZ and KDNP, particularly to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, to refrain from enforcing a hastened decision and imposing a insufficiently legitimate constitution on their country. Instead, we urge to use the opportunity to draft and pass a document that can unite Hungarians and does not divide them. We call for a constitution that, by providing clear legal concepts instead of historical symbolism in legal form, can serve as the foundation of a constitutional state based on legal certainty and the rule of law. Finally, Hungary deserves a constitution that preserves, and not limits, the functions of its guardian, the Constitutional Court, one of the most trusted institutions in the country.

Signed (5/01, 9:00 pm MEZ):

  1. Antal ÁDÁM, University of Pécs, Hungary
  2. Wolf ALBIN, Attorney-at-Law, Berlin, Germany
  3. Andrew ARATO, New School for Social Research, New York, USA
  4. Judit BAYER, King Sigismund College, Budapest, Hungary
  5. Jochen VON BERNSTORFF, Max-Planck-Institute Heidelberg & University Göttingen, Germany
  6. Adam BODNAR, Warsaw University, Poland
  7. Christian BOULANGER, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany
  8. David R. BOYD, Simon Fraser University, Canada
  9. Eva BREMS, Ghent University, Belgium
  10. Nora CHRONOWSKI, University of Pecs, Hungary
  11. Monica CLAES, Maastricht University, Netherlands
  12. Mihály CSÁKÓ, John Wesley Theological College and ELTE University, Budapest, Hungary
  13. Justus von DANIELS, Cardozo School of Law, New York, USA
  14. Balázs DÉNES, Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, Budapest, Hungary
  15. Tímea DRINÓCZI, University of Pécs, Hungary
  16. Catherine DUPRÉ, University of Exeter, United Kingdom
  17. David DYZENHAUS, University of Toronto, Canada
  18. Dirk FABRICIUS, Goethe-University Frankfurt, Germany
  19. Agata FIJALKOWSKI, Lancaster University, United Kingdom
  20. Zoltan FLECK, ELTE University, Budapest, Hungary
  21. Andreas FUNKE, University of Cologne, Germany
  22. Claudio FRANZIUS, University of Hamburg, Germany
  23. Siri GLOPPEN, University of Berge & Chr. Michelsen Institute, Norway
  24. Marcin GÓRSKI, University of Łódź, Poland.
  25. Marie-Pierre GRANGER, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
  26. Christoph GUSY, Bielefeld University, Germany
  27. Balázs GYENIS, University of Pittsburgh, USA
  28. Tamás GYÖRFI, University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom
  29. Gábor HALMAI, ELTE University, Budapest, Hungary,
  30. Dominik HANF, College of Europe, Bruges, Belgium
  31. Helen E. HARTNELL, Golden Gate University, San Francisco, USA
  32. Wolf HEYDEBRAND, New York University, USA
  33. Kristina IRION, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
  34. Ireneusz C. KAMINSKI, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland
  35. Ulrich KARPENSTEIN, Attorney-at-Law, Berlin, Germany
  36. Alexandra KEMMERER, Wissenschaftskolleg, Berlin, Germany
  37. János KIS, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
  38. Sascha KNEIP, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB), Berlin, Germany
  39. Jan KOMAREK, London School of Economics, United Kingdom
  40. Atina KRAJEWSKA, School of Law, University of Exeter, United Kingdom
  41. Helga KRISCH, Administrative Court, Berlin, Germany
  42. Mattias KUMM, Humbold University, Berlin, Germany and New York University, USA
  43. Johanna LÁSZLÓ, ELTE University, Budapest, Hungary
  44. Tamás LATTMANN, National Defense University and ELTE University, Budapest, Hungary
  45. Oliver W. LEMBCKE, University of Jena, Germany
  46. Patrick MACKLEM, University of Toronto, Canada
  47. Miguel Poiares MADURO, Professor, European University Institute
  48. Matthias MAHLMANN, University of Zurich, Switzerland
  49. Ernst Gottfried MAHRENHOLZ, Deputy President of the Constitutional Court (ret.), Karlsruhe, Germany
  50. Balázs MAJTÉNYI, ELTE University, Budapest, Hungary
  51. László MAJTÉNYI, University of Miskolc, Hungary
  52. Susanna MANCINI, University of Bologna, Italy
  53. Stefan MARKUS, former Ambassador to Hungary, Slovakia
  54. Franz MAYER, University of Bielefeld, Germany
  55. Jeremy MCBRIDE, Monckton Chambers, Gray’s Inn, London, United Kingdom
  56. Zoltan MIKLÓSI, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
  57. Christoph MOELLERS, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany
  58. Jan-Werner MUELLER, Princeton University, USA
  59. Odonkhu MUNKHSAIKAN, Nagoya University, Japan
  60. Andreas ORATOR, WU University of Business and Economics, Vienna, Austria
  61. Viktor OSIATYNSKI, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
  62. András L. PAP, ELTE University, Budapest, Hungary
  63. Vlad PERJU, Boston College Law School, USA
  64. Otto PFERSMANN, University Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne, Paris, France
  65. Ulrich K. PREUSS, Hertie School of Governance, Berlin, Germany
  66. Jiri PRIBAN, Cardiff University, United Kingdom
  67. István RÉV, Open Society Archives, Budapest, Hungary
  68. Michel ROSENFELD, President of the US Association of Constitutional Law, Cardozo School of Law, New York, USA
  69. Judit SANDOR, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
  70. Aurel SARI, University of Exeter, United Kingdom
  71. Martin SCHEININ, President of the International Association of Constitutional Law (IACL), European Universit Institute
  72. Stefan SCHEPERS, director general of the European Institute of Public Administration (ret.)
  73. Kim Lane SCHEPPELE, Princeton University, USA
  74. Tibor SCHOBER, Attorney-at-Law, Berlin, Germany
  75. Kristina SCHOENFELDT, University of Freiburg, Germany
  76. Bernadette SOMODY, ELTE University, Budapest, Hungary
  77. Grażyna SKAPSKA, Institute of Sociology, Jagiellonian University, Poland
  78. Maximilian STEINBEIS, Attorney-at-Law, Germany
  79. Máté Dániel SZABÓ, University of Miskolc, Hungary
  80. Sona SZOMOLANYI, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia
  81. Christopher THORNHILL, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom
  82. Gábor Attila TÓTH, Debrecen University, Hungary
  83. Johan VAN DER WALT, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom
  84. Balázs VÁRADI, ELTE University,Budapest,Hungary
  85. Marton VARJU, University of Hull, UK & Central European University, Hungary
  86. Attila VINCZE, University of Hull, United Kingdom
  87. Beatrix VISSY, ELTE University, Budapest, Hungary
  88. Astrid WALLRABENSTEIN, Goethe-University, Frankfurt, Germany
  89. Meike WEISSPFLUG, RWTH Aachen, Germany
  90. Mattias WENDEL, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany
  91. Tim WIHL, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany
  92. Miroslaw WYRZYKOWSKI, Justice of the Constitutional Court (ret.) & Warsaw University, Poland
  93. Katarina ZAVACKA, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia


If you share our concern, please sign the petition by adding a comment with your name and institutional affiliation. Thank you.