Hungarian MPs passed a controversial new land law amid raucous protests in Parliament and the resignation of a high-profile lawmaker from the governing party.
As MPs were preparing to vote on the bill, a number of Jobbik lawmakers occupied the speaker’s chair, unfurling a banner denouncing the sale of Hungarian land to foreigners as treason.
The protesting MPs, led by Jobbik head Gábor Vona, were ordered by Deputy Speaker of Parliament János Latorcai to vacate the lectern, but they refused, leading to a delay in the session and the exclusion of the protesters from the vote.
As the votes were being counted, Jobbik lawmakers shouted slogans including “Traitors” and “No, no, never,” the latter a traditional protest chant against the post-World War I Treaty of Trianon.
In the end the bill was approved 253-17, with many MPs abstaining, and charges by the opposition that the bill would be found technically invalid because no roll call had been held.
In related news, according to website 444.hu, Fidesz MP József Ángyán left the Fidesz parliamentary faction.
Ángyán had earlier made headlines by criticizing the government’s land-leasing policies, first as a state secretary in the Ministry of Rural Development and later as an MP, calling attention to what he charged was favoritism in awarding valuable farmland to a small circle of business people close to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his administration.
Ángyán had caucused with the party since the 2006 elections.