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2011-02-28

The Big Constitutional Brainstorming

Still almost two months to go until the final parliamentary vote on the new Hungarian constitution, but we already bet that none of the opposition parties will support the governing parties’ draft basic law. Fidesz has offered unprecedented concessions to LMP, but in light of the impractical conditions of the opposition parties, consensus is highly unlikely.
The Big Constitutional Brainstorming

Still almost two months to go until the final parliamentary vote on the new Hungarian constitution, but we already bet that none of the opposition parties will support the governing parties’ draft basic law. Fidesz has offered unprecedented concessions to LMP, but in light of the impractical conditions of the opposition parties, consensus is highly unlikely. Hungarians can start getting used to the idea of a ‘single-party constitution’ plus to the new era of the Fourth Hungarian Republic.

In mid-February, the parliamentary groups of Fidesz and KDNP suddenly decided to set a new timeline for the constitutional process. The exact rationale behind the rescheduling of the constitutional process is unknown, but the unexpected domestic and international scandal over the media law might have played a role in pushing Fidesz towards a more consensual political behaviour. Previously, an ad hoc committee had been responsible for drafting the text of the basic law. According to the original plan, the parliamentary vote on the new document would have occurred on Easter Monday, which, accidently or not, would be exactly the one year anniversary of Fidesz’ overwhelming election victory.

The political legitimacy of the committee, however, was already questionable as all the three opposition parties had left it as a response to the restriction of the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court and because Fidesz hadn’t supported most of their motions. Anyway, the Fidesz-KDNP members of the committee came up with their own draft constitution last December, which, although included some controversial topics (such as the Holy Crown concept, the protection of life from conception, marriage and family defined as the community of a man and a woman), can hardly be considered totally unacceptable.

Policy Solutions' analysis on the drafting process of Hungary's new constitution can be downloaded from here.



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About Us

Policy Solutions is a progressive political research institute based in Budapest. It was founded in 2008 and it is committed to the values of liberal democracy, solidarity, equal opportunity and European integration. The focus of Policy Solutions’ work is on understanding political processes in Hungary and the European Union. Among the pre-eminent areas of our research are the investigation of how the quality of democracy evolves, the analysis of factors driving euroscepticism, populism and the far-right, and election research. 

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