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Hungarian President Refuses To Play Mediator’s Role In Constitutional Amendment Debate

By Tamás Székely // 2016.12.05.

In response to Jobbik seeking his intervention in connection with the debate on the constitutional amendment, Hungary’s President János Áder has said he does not want to intercede in the disputes of political parties. Áder said disputes should be settled within the framework of parliamentary debates.

Radical nationalist Jobbik party leader Gábor Vona had asked Áder to help resolve the impasse that emerged around a government-proposed constitutional amendment and Jobbik’s precondition for supporting it, namely that residency bonds should be withdrawn. Áder told Vona the president was constitutionally obliged to express the unity of the nation and stand above party politics. “All political parties in the Hungarian Parliament have the opportunity to gather social support for the representation of their values and proposals and to be mandated for parliamentary action in proportion to that support,” Áder said. On November 8, Jobbik denied the government its support for the constitutional amendment bill, after the government refused to drop the residency bond scheme. Jobbik then submitted virtually the same bill to parliament, with an additional clause which would make granting foreigners a residency permit for a charge unconstitutional. Parliament’s judicial committee would not even discuss the proposal, Vona said earlier.

Meanwhile President Áder also said he returned two laws to the Hungarian Parliament for reconsideration. One of them transferred the ownership of central Budapest’s Erzsébet Square from the city to the Hungarian state and the other was an amendment of health and health insurance laws. In his justification, the president said that a property transfer cannot be completed without consent from the municipality, adding that neither the city council nor the mayor of Budapest had been consulted before the bill was passed. Áder asked for the procedure to be repeated. The second one is an amendment on Hungary’s health and health insurance laws. As a result of the amendment passed on November 22, Hungarian health authorities would have the power to enter and search any facility without the consent of the owner, as well as the power to question the owner or employees on the premises or search vehicles. Áder said such powers infringe on the constitutional rights of citizens and there was no guarantee such acts would be purposeful and proportionate.

via and MTI