Parliament voted on Monday to allow the state of emergency to be extended for up to 180 days starting November 1, but for an unlimited number of times.
The amendment enables the Hungarian Parliament to extend the state of emergency indefinitely, in 180-day increments, “in view of the armed conflict and humanitarian disaster on the territory of Ukraine, and to prevent their consequences for Hungary.”
Viktor Orbán announced a wartime state of emergency on May 24. The Prime Minister explained the extraordinary move by referring to the war taking place in Hungary’s neighboring country, a war “that no one can see the end of yet.” He therefore argued for maneuverability and the ability to take immediate action if necessary.
This justification was used to amend Hungary’s Fundamental Law, with the addition that this status could also be granted in the event of a humanitarian disaster or an armed conflict in a neighboring country.
In a short debate before the bill was adopted, Előd Novák of Our Homeland said that the amendment was “unacceptable” in its current form, and that they did not support “the new world order, the restriction of our freedom.”
Novák complained that even MPs could not appeal the matter to the Constitutional Court, and that the amendment means nothing more than “180 days of depriving our rights. Should we be happy about that?”
Gergely Arató of DK remarked that “the situation remains that Hungary’s form of government is a state of emergency.” According to Arató, the government hides behind this state of emergency, “distributes money without reason,” and takes away the rights of certain social groups. He noted that teachers had their right to strike taken away from them under the current situation.
The state of emergency is like “the invading Russian army: it arrived temporarily and stayed here for a long time,” said Arató.
In the Hungarian legal system, the state of emergency is a so-called qualified period, allowing a special legal system to come into force. This means that under a state of emergency, the government can adopt decrees that can make certain laws invalid.
But the government can claim the powers in the state of emergency for unrelated matters as well.
Referring to the wartime state of emergency, the government declared in a decree that public spaces could be used for the August 20th fireworks display free of charge, although it was postponed by a week and finally held on August 27th. [Telex]