On consecutive days, the left-wing national daily carries two diverging opinions about whether the Left should swiftly abolish the Fundamental Law passed by the Fidesz majority in 2011. Meanwhile, one of the protagonists of the 1989/1990 regime change dismisses the idea, put forward by several opposition-leaning intellectuals, that if the opposition wins the elections next year, the new parliament can simply scrap the Fundamental Law, even without the required two-thirds majority in Parliament.
Hungarian press roundup by budapost.eu
Background information: Over the past few months, left-wing and liberal jurists (but not leading politicians of the opposition) have argued that since a two-thirds victory for the opposition in next year’s election is highly unlikely, the Fundamental Law and the pivotal laws based upon it would remain in force. This would mean that the various state posts that represent a check on the government would all remain filled by nominees of the current Fidesz government (including the Public Prosecutor, judges on the Constitutional Court, the head of the Supreme Court (Kúria), the State Assets Agency and the Media Council). That would, in their view, paralyse the new government, and therefore the 2011 Fundamental Law voted into force by Fidesz should be abolished – even if the new majority lacks the required two-thirds majority.
In Népszava, Jenő Ferincz agrees with previous contributors to the debate, who argued that the Left, if it wins the elections next year, should declare the Fundamental Law null and void. He believes that Parliament, however, is not entitled to do so without a two-thirds majority. Such a declaration, he suggests, must come from the Constitutional Court. In order for that to happen,he continues, Parliament should elect new judges to the Constitutional Court. (He doesn’t address the problem that the judges cannot be replaced before their 12-year mandate expires and that the new ones require a two-thirds majority in Parliament to be elected.)
In the same daily, Pál Vastagh, a former socialist Minister of Justice cautions against ‘revolutionary’ legislation. Although the Fundamental Law restricts the elbow room of the new government, he argues, it doesn’t paralyse it. A new constitution, on the other hand, should enjoy the support of the majority of Hungarians, he warns. In his concluding remark, he suggests that the strongly majoritarian electoral system might even yield the Left a two-thirds majority in Parliament.
On Mandiner, Imre Kónya, a lawyer who founded the opposition round table in 1989, thereby uniting the disparate forces of the regime change and thus making negotiations on peaceful transition possible, finds it sad that one of the important personalities of the regime change, János Kis should have joined that chorus. He admits that Kis had some reservations, namely that rather than abolishing the Fundamental Law immediately after the elections, the new government should wait until the fall of Fidesz produces a political landslide in public opinion. But if there is such a political landslide, Kónya objects, why not disband Parliament and win a two-thirds majority in new elections? In his concluding remark, he hopes that by a political landslide János Kis doesn’t mean mob rule by left-wing supporters, incited against the opposing side.
Featured photo illustration by László Beliczay/MTI