Intern Filip Sidó wrote a blog on "Is the COVID-19 pandemic a coup in Hungarian democracy?" in which he discusses the newly declared state of emergency in Hungary, which allows Prime Minister Orbán to rule through decrees that essentially give him unlimited power.
Hungary, as every other EU Member State, has declared a state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the similarities stop here; the Hungarian government’s emergency measures revolve around a new act, which would allow Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to rule by a decree, without any sunset clause and without any parliament oversight, essentially giving him unrestrained power. This new bill passed in parliament on Monday, March 30. Many critics are saying that Orbán is using the coronavirus pandemic as a pretense for a coup d’état. The Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejcinovic Buric wrote to Orbán on March 24, that: "An indefinite and uncontrolled state of emergency cannot guarantee that the basic principles of democracy will be observed.” Despite this, Viktor Orbán claims that after the crisis ends, he will give back all powers, without exception. History, however, shows that the veracity of Orban’s claims are dubious; in September 2015, a “crisis situation” was declared in Hungary due to the migration crisis, which upon that time was in Europe. The “crisis situation” should have been stopped when a set of preconditions, such as either 500 asylum seekers arriving to a transit zones per day for a month or 800 per day for a week, are not fulfilled any more. These preconditions have not been met for years now. However, on March 5, 2020, Hungarian parliament extended the “crisis situation” for the eight time since the 2015 Europe’s migration crisis. With respect to the current crisis, civil rights groups and international institutions fear that this will give to Viktor Orbán the power to pursue and suppress the critics and destroy the democratic checks and balances. The majority of the members of the European Parliament calls for European response and says that this will irrevocably destroy the democracy in Hungary.
The full blog can be found under the PDF button.
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