January 2nd, 2012

Details on Hungary’s new Constitution

Hungary’s new constitution, enacted by Parliament with a two-thirds majority in April, came into force on January 1, 2012. The main points follow:

– the preamble notes that King Saint Stephen (r. 1000-1038) founded the Hungarian state and integrated it into Christian Europe 1,000 years ago, and its states Hungary’s people recognise Christianity’s role in preserving nationhood

– contains a commitment to preserve and protect the language and culture of both Hungarians and the minorities, as well as the natural and man-made assets of the Carpathian Basin

– pledges responsibility for ethnic Hungarian communities living beyond the country’s borders

– Hungarians should make use of material, intellectual and natural resources with the interests of the future generations in mind

– individual freedom can only unfold through cooperation with others, with the family and the nation acting as the main frames for co-existence

– rejects the idea that crimes committed against the Hungarian nation and its citizens during the Nazi and communist dictatorships should ever lapse

– qualifies the 1949 communist constitution, passed under totalitarian rule, as invalid

– declares that freedom in modern Hungary originated in the 1956 revolution.

BUDGET

– a constitutional institution is the fiscal council comprising a chairman appointed by the president for six years, the chairman of the State Audit Office and the central bank governor. The council’s approval will be necessary before lawmakers vote on the budget

– parliament must pass the budget by March 31 for a calendar year. Failure prompts its dissolution

– if the public debt exceeds 50 percent of GDP for the previous calendar year, the budget must contain measures to produce a primary surplus, and no loans can be raised which add to the public debt unless the economy is hit by a crisis and measures are required to restore balance. Parliament passed a cardinal law on enforcing the 50-percent-debt rule in 2016

– state and local government assets are constitutionally fixed as state property, and strict rules apply to any sell-offs

– the governor of the National Bank of Hungary will continue to be appointed for six years by the president

– the government and parliament must make sure the budget is balanced, transparent and sustainable.

JUDICIARY

– the new supreme law codifies the curbs on the Constitutional Court’s powers enacted in 2010: the top court has the power to overrule laws on the budget, taxes, customs and benefits only if they contravene basic rights to life, human dignity, the protection of personal data, freedom of thought and religion. These restrictions can only be lifted once the public debt drops below 50 percent of gross domestic product, a requirement separately stipulated in the new basic law

– From now on not only will the president of the republic have the right to send a draft law to the Constitutional Court for review but lawmakers submitting a bill, the government or parliament will also have this right. The court has 30 days to make a decision

– the number of court judges rises to 15 from 11 and they are to be elected by parliament for a term of 12 years instead of nine. Parliament also nominates the president of the court from among its members

– the Supreme Court’s name has changed to “Curia” and its president has been elected for nine, rather than six years. The mandatory retirement age of judges, which was 70 years under the former constitution, has been reduced to the general retirement age, which is gradually increasing from 62 to 65 years.

RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

– stipulates a right to self-defence, the protection of private property and personal data

– introduces real life sentences

– defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman and stipulates the protection of the foetus from conception

– declares the state shall strive to provide general social security to all its citizens.

PARLIAMENT, OMBUDSMAN, ELECTIONS

– lawmakers will have the right to question the chief public prosecutor, but his replies will not have to be approved by a majority of lawmakers in order to stand. It will be mandatory for anyone to appear before a parliamentary investigation committee, and this stipulation will be enforced by a two-thirds law

– the new constitution reduces the number of ombudsmen from four to one, namely the commissioner for fundamental rights. The new basic law states that the commissioner for fundamental rights will appoint two deputies to protect the interests of future generations and the minorities, respectively. Personal data will be protected, and the right of access to data of public interest will be enforced by an independent authority

– local elections will be held every five years, replacing four-year cycles. Parliament will be able to limit the borrowing activities of local councils to prevent deficits. A passage in the former constitution allowing local governments to turn to the Constitutional Court if they consider their rights have been infringed is absent from the new supreme law- referendum is valid if over 50 percent of all voters have cast a ballot. It is considered successful if over 50 percent of valid votes give the same answer — positive or negative — to the referendum question. Referendums cannot be held on laws governing members of parliament, local representatives or mayors, members of the European Parliament, central taxes, fees, duties, or social contributions.

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  • Viking

    qualifies the 1949 communist constitution, passed under totalitarian rule, as invalid

    Will this mean that any ruling pre-2012 can be challenged in the Courts, due to there was no valid Constitution?

    Does this mean that the framework in which the Constitution from 2012, which was approved pre-2012, was invalid, making the 2012-Constitution invalid?

  • Lex

    “- stipulates a right to self-defence, the protection of private property and personal data ”
    Woo-hoo I’m gonna get me a boatload of guns and ammo.

  • x

    This ‘constitution’ has the value of toilet paper. I’d wipe my arse on it at a moemnts notice.

  • Paul

    “….individual freedom can only unfold through cooperation with others”

    Orban, of all people, to write that is a brilliantpiec e of self irony.

    • Lex

      That means, if you don’t like socialism or you want to be an individual not paying taxes and requesting government nanny-care than you don’t have rights….NO, FREEDOM COMES FROM NATURAL UNALIENABLE GOD-GIVEN RIGHTS, and a piece of paper doesn’t take those away so it can redefine freedom.

    • Alex

      That means, if you don’t like socialism or you want to be an individual not paying taxes and requesting government nanny-care than you don’t have rights….NO, FREEDOM COMES FROM NATURAL UNALIENABLE GOD-GIVEN RIGHTS, and a piece of paper doesn’t take those away so it can redefine freedom!

  • Dmitri

    Effectively, this constitution bans abortions. So sad to see Hungary following the path of backwards Poland and Ireland, instead of democratic Austria.

    • Leto

      It doesn’t ban abortions. Not even effectively. Try coming up with a more subtle lie.

      • Viking

        Leto says:
        January 2, 2012 at 10:32 pm

        It doesn’t ban abortions

        Not outright, but it lays the legal foundation to do it, then it “stipulates the protection of the foetus from conception”
        And *who* should do the “protection”?
        The Hungarian State of course, so we open for a situation where assigned Doctors are to rule if an abortion should happen or not
        What we normally call “abortions are not legal”, then you need to have a special permit, which will not be given unless certain conditions are met

        • DoubleH63

          @Viking “It doesn’t ban abortions”

          Rather sad that it does not.

          • Lex

            The baby owns his/her own body, it’s a human from conception, it has natural right for life, it has human DNA you butchers.

          • Viking

            Lex says:
            January 3, 2012 at 9:06 am

            The baby owns his/her own body, it’s a human from conception, it has natural right for life

            More than the Mother carrying it?

          • Lex

            The baby has his/her own DNA it’s a separate human being with natural rights, nobody owns him/her. The mother won’t die carrying him/her, killing the kid and not bearing the responsibility for your actions is childish and immature.

          • justasking

            @Lex,

            “The mother won’t die carrying him/her,”

            Sure they can, as well as complications from the pregnancy/delivery.
            ———–

            “killing the kid and not bearing the responsibility for your actions is childish and immature”

            And in the cases of rape and molestation? Will they have to accept responsibility for that as well?

            Besides…where are the guys in all of this? The only thing I see is the females being attacked.

            I recommend, that for every girl/woman seeking an abortion/facing an unwanted pregnancy, the fathers of that fetus be fined for not keeping it in their pants and/or not wrapping it up.

          • justasking

            @Double,

            “Rather sad that it does not”

            Tell that to the kid, who is now stuck with parent(s) not wanting him/her. I’d rather be aborted, opposed to not wanted…and being reminded of that day in and day out.

            What kind of life is that for a child to have to grow up in because a group of people are riding a moral high horse?

          • Lex

            You still don’t get it do you, YOU DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO KILL AN OTHER HUMAN BEING. and this ‘let’s fine the guys’ is just pathetic like it’s a one sided issue.
            If it’s rape kill the rapist not the baby and after birth adopt him/her, just because there MIGHT be complications during birth you don’t get rid of the kid.
            Gimme a break, this is a pathetic argument let’s kill the kid after 5 minutes of birth, oh that’s murder but if you do it 5 minutes before that’s OK, NO IT’S NOT OKAY.
            The woman has a right to decide over her own body, I agree let’s abort HER body not someone else’s.

          • Viking

            Lex says:
            January 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm

            You still don’t get it do you, YOU DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO KILL AN OTHER HUMAN BEING

            Nice to see such a compassionate attack on the Death Penalty (Capital Punishment)

          • justasking

            @Lex,

            “You still don’t get it do you, YOU DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO KILL AN OTHER HUMAN BEING”

            Oh I get…it’s you who doesn’t.

            Unless a baby can be successfully brought to term in a petri dish…you have no right to tell anybody what they can and can not do with their bodies.
            ———-

            “and this ‘let’s fine the guys’ is just pathetic like it’s a one sided issue”

            Isn’t it?

            What happens if they guys wants nothing to do with the girl and the kid once he finds out what the situation is?

            Are you going to force him to stay and accept responsibility?
            ————

            “If it’s rape kill the rapist not the baby”

            But…but…I thought you screamed:

            “YOU DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO KILL AN OTHER HUMAN BEING”
            ————-

            “after birth adopt him/her”

            So, you advocate victimizing the victim further? Wasn’t the rape enough?

            Why stop there? Why not make her keep the child, so that she can be reminded over and over again of that traumatic event in her life, where she had absolutely no control and probably feared for her life? You know…really stick it to her.

            Besides…I wouldn’t be surprised if she asked for it by wearing provocative clothing or drinking in public.
            ———-

            “just because there MIGHT be complications during birth you don’t get rid of the kid”

            I have yet to meet a woman, who would consider aborting a child, solely on the basis of there ‘might being complications’.

            I have on the other hand, heard of women seeking abortions, simply because the fetus is a female.
            ——–

            “The woman has a right to decide over her own body, I agree let’s abort HER body not someone else’s”

            If you did that…who would carry the fetuses? D’oh!

            You could give 2 shits about children, or what they might possibly experience if the option of abortion was taken away.

            You’re focusing on the live birth and what YOU want…not what’s best for that child.

  • Viking

    Hungarian democracy ‘reformed’
    A short summary by EuroNews

    -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OhqpvCi3nA
    -

  • Rolrox

    The point most startling is that there cannot be a referendum on anything to do with how Parliament operates; so if things are really disconcerting for what turns out to be a majority of the population, then what option is there? Civil Revolt?

    I don’t understand how 1 part of a contract (the gov’t) can change their mandate without the agreement of the other party: those that they govern. Perhaps I’m naive?

  • olga

    regarding the Constitution:

    “defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman and stipulates the protection of the foetus from conception”

    I understand that same sex marriage is not going to be recognized but that’s not a “change”

    Will the abortion laws actually change in Hungary? If they do and abortions will be restricted, here is my rather obvious prediction.

    Women who can afford it will travel a couple of hours and have access to safe abortions. The most vulnerable women, with low incomes will be denied the same access and they
    will bring unwanted children into poverty stricken homes.

    • Leto

      olga:

      The abortion laws wouldn’t change fundamentally. It’s a moral standpoint what the Constitution states here.

      • Viking

        Leto says:
        January 4, 2012 at 12:19 am

        It’s a moral standpoint what the Constitution states here

        The Constitution acts as guidelines for detailed laws
        Moral has nothing to do with either Constitution or Laws

        One can argue that this point open up for creating laws that gives the State the possibility to force pregnant women to deliver an unborn child, to protect the unborn child’s rights

        Special wards in closed psychiatric wards can be used for this, as it was before in The Good Ol’ Days, to stop pregnant women from harming the unborn

        And from there, directly into the State Home for being brought up to serve in the Security Services
        Also like in The Good Ol’ Days

  • olga

    @ justasking

    Amazing how it’s always the men who have the most to say about abortions; you would think there were enough topics on this website to keep them busy.

    BTW, I know this from my work experience that the very same men who default on their child support payments are the ones screaming about the rights of the unborn. Maybe there should be training programmes to teach them that the rights of children already born supersede the rights of the unborn who are not viable outside a woman’s womb.

    As you know, Canada’s abortion law was struck down as unconstitutional in 1988 , yet women can have access to safe abortions regardless of their financial situation. As noted before, I am afraid that limiting access to abortion in Hungary will only limit access to poor women, the same ones who can ill afford children and can ill afford proper prenatal care.

    • justasking

      @Olga,

      “Maybe there should be training programmes to teach them that the rights of children already born supersede the rights of the unborn who are not viable outside a woman’s womb”

      I truly understand where say, Leto and Double are coming from. I do. God bless them, for wanting/needing to defend/protect innocent children in all stages of life. How can you not respect that?

      I have to ask though…is that child’s future wants and needs, quality of life being taken into consideration?

      When a person is forced to ‘deal’ with their mistake…will they be happy to do so? Will they accept responsibility for their actions…or take it out on a vulnerable and defenceless child?

      That’s the ugly truth that people seem to either forget, or refuse to acknowledge…there are those who will make innocent children ‘pay’ for something they had no control over.

      Is that fair and is that right?

  • olga

    @ Leto

    Moral stand is fine as long as women will have the same access to safe abortions as prior to January 1.2012

    Our PM is a \Family Value guy\ and he is against abortion but made it loud and clear to the electorate that the status quo shall remain if he wins the election.

    I just remembered and looked up a specific article dated during his campaign period (he got his majority in May) but I am copying it for a specific purpose that has nothing to do with abortion – I think the irony is priceless.

    Conception Bay, Nfld.— Globe and Mail Update
    Posted on Thursday, April 21, 2011 12:15PM EDT

    Stephen Harper is trying to lay to rest, once and for all, any notion that a Conservative government would reopen the abortion debate – after a Saskatchewan MP urged supporters to keep up the pressure to do just that.

    “In our party, as in any broadly based party, there are people with a range of views on this issue,” Mr. Harper said Thursday when asked by reporters how Canadians could trust a Conservative government not to tamper with a woman’s right to an abortion.

    • Leto

      @olga:

      It’s pretty much the very same situation.

  • DoubleH63

    @justasking

    I wish those parents of unwanted children would use a different method of birth controll than abortion. Or have some self-discipline, instead of being like rabbits. And if the pregnancy happens, they should do the honorable and right thing and bear the hardship of parenthood no matter what.
    I don’t think this issue is about the rights of women or babies. It’s plainly about right and wrong.
    For me there is no difference between abortion and the infamous T-4 programme. You see, that started [despite what the propaganda says] also with two parents who did not want to deal with their mentally and physically disabled child. So they went to the Führer and asked him, that out of mercy the child be put down. He said yes to this request – an unforgivable decision in my opinion. You know the rest of the story…

    • Viking

      DoubleH63 says:
      January 4, 2012 at 7:34 am

      I wish those parents of unwanted children would use a different method of birth controll than abortion. Or have some self-discipline, instead of being like rabbits. And if the pregnancy happens, they should do the honorable and right thing and bear the hardship of parenthood no matter what

      1) I think no women like to enjoy “the pleasures of an abortion”
      It is both a physical and mental strain and I met several women during the years, who given their darker hours cannot forget their abortions, always questioning if they have done right or not

      2) Mr 88-“Cold Showers”-63…

      3) “if the pregnancy happens”
      Yes, old Yugoslavia is full of children that were born out of rapes, must make you proud

      • Viking

        Forgot,
        If we speak about moral:
        * How is contraception any morally different from abortion?
        The sperm belongs to God and does His work, so who are you to stop Gods Work?

    • justasking

      @Double,

      “I wish those parents of unwanted children would use a different method of birth controll than abortion”

      And I agree with you. Abortions should be used as a last resort, and not as a form of birth control. I would also bet, that the % of women using abortions as a form of birth control, is pretty low.

      As Viking said, the emotional and psychological trauma a woman experiences after deciding to end a pregnancy and actually going through with it…that’s punishment enough.
      ——–

      “And if the pregnancy happens, they should do the honorable and right thing and bear the hardship of parenthood no matter what”

      Again, I agree with you…if only in a perfect world.

      I could write a book, on the parents I have encountered while taking my kids to preschool, regular school, Brownies and other extra curricular activities.

      I have to tell you Dupla, it ain’t pretty. I think you’d be shocked on how some parents view/treat their kids…as if they were nothing more than props.
      ——–

      “two parents who did not want to deal with their mentally and physically disabled child”

      Did not, or could not any longer?

      You don’t know what they went through with that handicapped child. What was that child’s quality of life? What was their quality of life? I guarantee you, that decision was not made easily by those parents.

      As cold hearted and as cruel as this sounds…maybe they were doing the child a favour?

      I did part of my internship in a hospital who housed the most severely mentally and physically handicapped patients in the Province. It was the worst experience of my life. I would wish that on anybody.

  • Who Asked

    Of all the people who left messages here, I wonder how many are Hungarian?

    If you are not you have no reason to criticize or place a comment. Hungarian life and politics belong to Hungarians, just as French or any other country, politics and life belong to them.

    What business is it of yours?

    • Viking

      Who Asked says:
      January 4, 2012 at 2:52 pm

      What business is it of yours?

      * Foreigners who live in Hungary and pay taxes here
      * Foreigners who were born in Hungary but fled abroad
      * Foreigners who were born and was brought up by parents that fled=moved from Hungary
      * Foreigners who regard themselves as ‘ethnic Hungarians’, living in pre-Trianon Hungary
      * Foreigners who are neighbours to these ‘ethnic Hungarians’, living in pre-Trianon Hungary and somewhat affected by Hungary regional policies
      * Foreigners who live in the EU and who pay via their National Taxes to keep Hungary a float

      Why should these Foreigners not be allowed to comment on this web-site?

      Who are you to question/censor who are allowed to discuss Hungarian politics?

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