April 21st, 2011

Socialists, LMP to join parliamentary debate on supermajority laws

The main opposition Socialists and the green Politics Can Be Different (LMP) will participate in the parliamentary debate on laws to derive from the new constitution that require two-thirds majority approval, daily Nepszabadsag said on Thursday.

Monika Lamperth, a senior Socialist official, told the paper that the ruling Fidesz party had created handcuffs with the new constitution. The two-thirds laws will put these on the next government’s wrists, with Prime Minister Viktor Orban putting the keys in his pocket, she added.

The Socialists refused to attend the debate on the new constitution but during the preparation of the two-thirds laws, they now must continually highlight the risks of Fidesz’s attempt to cement its power and restrict the manoeuvring space of future governments, Lamperth said. She called it particularly risky that Fidesz had included laws governing tax, pension and social affairs among the two-thirds laws.

LMP group leader Andras Schiffer told the paper that from a political aspect there was a significant difference between the new constitution and the two-thirds laws. LMP has not even thought of staying away from the debate on the laws.

Along with the Socialists, LMP refused to participate in the constitution’s debate.

Istvan Balsai, a Fidesz MP and head of parliament’s constitutional committee, told the paper that the government was obliged to submit the two-thirds draft laws for parliamentary debate. A debate on some of the several dozen bills should start before the summer recess, Balsai said, adding that the one on the election and voting rights would be among the first. He said among the bills were those on education, judiciary and prosecution, as well as the ones on family protection, tax burden distribution, the basic rules of the pension system and the preservation of national assets.

Laws regulating the Hungarian National Bank and financial supervisory authority PSZAF will also be among those requiring a two-thirds majority, Fidesz politicians told the paper.

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  • Leto

    Why this inconsistency? They should boycott the cardinal acts, too. :)))

  • mc

    Monika Lamperth should be aware that it was the
    Socialists and LMP who practically put the keys into
    Orban’s pocket themselves by refusing to be an
    effective opposition and by choosing not to include
    themselves in the parliamentary process of drawing
    up the new constitution. They left the door open
    and now they are blaming others because they have
    been robbed.

  • Monika Lamperth should be aware
    mc at April 21, 2011 12:49 PM

    I think every one is aware of ex-MSZP, now independent, MP Katalin Szili’s faith on the New Constitution
    From being one of 3 persons preparing the draft, she had all her proposals rejected and in the end voted against the New Constitution
    A similar faith to “Jobbik”
    When a single party has the absolute majority, it is very little the opposition can do
    But of course MSZP and LMP could have been more involved, but that had hardly had any real difference on the outcome, only on the ‘after-play’

  • Elle

    Lamperth and the LMP can take a running jump at themselves. They do not have the numbers to exercise even the nuisance value of a mosquito. The electorate gave the numbers to Fidesz to shape this country in the national majority’s interest. Obviously, it will not be giving right-of-way in the two-thirds majority legislations to traitors like the LMP and MSZP.

  • They do not have the numbers to exercise even the nuisance value of a mosquito
    Elle at April 21, 2011 2:01 PM

    Like “Jobbik” then?
    ‘The 3 Mosquitoes’
    An Hungarian Political (Fairy) Tale

  • Farkas László

    There are some things I’m not clear on about this 2/3 majority requirement.
    It’s quite possible to clear such a hurdle when the ruling party has a 2/3 control in parliament, such as at the present time, or feels that it can muster just enough opposition votes to back the measure. That of course may change in the wake of a future election, as we can’t assume the electorate will always hand the winning party the landslide that it did in 2010. What if they are not so charitable (or trusting) the next time around? What if the winning party (whoever it may be) gets only, say, 51%? In that case, you have a 15% margin needed for passage that would have to be solicited from an oppostion that must know they have the majority block “over a barrel”. It then becomes an “open sesame” for a lot of political back room dealing- and cooperation will have to bought-at a price.
    Such cooperation will not be free, as that 15% knows that without them, the measure would not pass. They can also stall for time and even block passage indefinitely.
    I’d hate to think that all of this stems from the hubris, the overconfidence of a party that won big last time, and is perhaps counting on similar success with the voters in the future. Rather than make legislation easier to pass without compromises, it might make it more difficult. This may be a formula for political gridlock under a different parliamentary membership in the future.

  • Elle

    ‘There are some things I’m not clear on about this 2/3 majority requirement.’ Farkas László at April 21, 2011 9:02 PM
    You don’t understand it at all. Here is the explanation: A new category of law is to come into being. Laws in that category, once enacted, can be modified only by a 2/3 majority of parliament. The reason-for-being of this new category of law is the endowment of certain laws with a resilience to modification by a simple numerical majority. A simple numerical majority is obtained easily enough by political horse trading. But a simple numerical majority is not large enough to be indicative of parliamentary consensus. A 2/3 majority is. Once these new laws are in place, therefore, their duration will be determined consensually.

  • The reason-for-being of this new category of law is the endowment of certain laws with a resilience to modification by a simple numerical majority
    Elle at April 22, 2011 2:50 AM

    And exactly that is the problem and criticism against the New Constitution, then this new demand will make it very hard for future Governments to act on rapid changes
    In Hungarian political tradition Orban with his Fidesz has deliberately refused to work with any non-Fidesz led Government since 2002, so this is clearly an attempt to ensure that Fidesz get influence over the process in the future
    Apply this type of restriction to UK-politics, where 1st party past the post gets all rights to do whatever they want, how would they look at this type of restrictions on how a future Government should work?
    Several European politicians have expressed concern how Hungary, with is basic and structural problems will be able to implement hard measures to change
    Eric Frey, in his blog at Der Standard in Austria, raised similar concerns, but in a bit sharper tone and questioned if the EU can allow member states to have this type of restrictions for their National Governments, then regardless if a country has implemented Euro (which all *shall* do eventually) or not, the bankruptcy of one member state affects all member states and demand they help

  • Leto

    The cardinal acts are the laws which fill the legal framework the Constitution provides. The constitution is like the supporting pillars of a house. Since changing the constitution requires an absolute majority, you cannot require less from those laws. They provide the supporting walls between the pillars.

  • The cardinal acts are the laws which fill the legal framework the Constitution provides
    Leto at April 22, 2011 11:26 AM

    A wonderful circle argument…
    Now we can get the beef, like how other countries can have Constitutions that does not have these restrictions for all this type of laws?
    Or please describe the Great Difficulties Hungary have had between 1990 to 2010 due to many of these laws were possible to change with a single majority?

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