Opposition MPs prolonged debate in Parliament well past midnight on a social welfare law that began on 9:00am Wednesday morning, replacing each other from time to time to keep the filibuster going and prevent debate from formally closing. From the government, primarily MPs Bence Rétvári and Lőrinc Nacsa responded to the opposition’s speeches.
The amendment under discussion would rewrite a 1993 social welfare law in such a way that the state would only provide help to the poorest as a last resort, when family members, municipal government, and charitable organizations had already given up. The amendment also states that individuals themselves are primarily responsible for their own social welfare, an unprecedented shift in Hungarian law.
According to the amendment, families will have an obligation to help their relative, even if that person finds themselves in a difficult situation through no fault of their own. Before this, the law only spoke about the responsibility of one’s family in general terms.
The amendment to the law was hidden in an omnibus law over 160 pages long submitted by Zsolt Semjén and Sándor Pintér on Tuesday.
During the filibuster, Dialogue’s Tímea Szabó called the amendment to the law “Lex ‘You Will Die'” (Lex Megdöglesz), while Bence Tordai said that rewriting the law enshrines inhumanity into law. Péter Ungár from LMP wrote on Facebook that they had to speak up about stopping the state from withdrawing from the social welfare system.
With discussion still ongoing, the session was expected to last well into the night. Dialogue Member of Parliament András Jámbor told Telex that the goal of the filibuster was to get answers from the government, specifically why the law was being amended and what the government was hoping to achieve with it as a crisis approaches.
Jámbor stated that the amendment would brutally transform the social welfare system overnight. With no time limit given for debate, opposition MPs vowed to stay inside Parliament until Thursday morning if necessary. [Telex]