This week, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government put before the Hungarian Parliament two draft laws that, if passed, would end the state of emergency and create a new legal framework for handing the pandemic from here on out. In doing so, the government was responding to those who criticized the unlimited power that the government had been given in the law creating a pandemic emergency, the Enabling Act of 30 March 2020. That law allowed the government to override any law by decree, a power that was unlimited in both scope and time and that violated Fidesz’ own “illiberal” constitution the Fundamental Law.
The new laws are no better, and may even be worse. One of the draft laws is less than one page long accompanied by two pages of justification. It purports to repeal the initial Enabling Act (about which, more below). The other one is called the law on “transitional provisions” and at first it seems only to provide lots of technical answers to questions that arise about how to reset deadlines for various legal processes that were delayed when the economy stopped. The new laws are no better, and may even be worse.Continue Reading →