Hungary, Parliament, Viktor Orban discussed on Monocle 24: The Globalist

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Yesterday. The Hungarian parliament voted by a two-thirds majority to allow the government of prime minister. Viktor Orban to rule by decree the regulations were enacted to help combat the pandemic. But don't have a set time limit and mean no elections can be held. This is deeply worrying for those who believed the authoritarian government may be trying to entrench themselves in this way will join me on the line from. Budapest is Valerie Hopkins his Southeast Year correspondent for the Financial Times Valerie. Thanks for coming on this morning. What exactly do these new Hungarian regulations say but thanks very much for having me and the new law will actually yes it will give Prime Minister or Bun and his government. The power to rule by decree there was a special amendment passed by the law. Yesterday that says that the parliament will focus on discussing corona virus while it will continue to meet and the state of emergency that has been imposed can only be lifted Wants the parliament decides agrees that it should be lifted so the fact that Mr Orban enjoys. A two-thirds majority means that we don't know that people are not expecting it to be lifted anytime soon. There's no concrete criteria for lifting the decree. We had a discussion on four hundred dollars. Had A discussion with the justice minister. You Fargo. Who wrote the bill Who said everyone in Europe? We'll know when the crisis is over but she neglected to give kind of any more clear and serious criteria and the government of Hungary imposed a state of emergency in two thousand fifteen a different kind of state of emergency during the refugee crisis and that state of emergency has continued to be extended not been lifted so even though the number of refugees and asylum seekers and migrants coming through Hungary has more or less diminished since two thousand fifteen so critics and skeptics of of this government are very concerned about what this will mean. I mean is it. Dictatorship by stealth is sensible pandemic legislation to stop the virus or cynical way just to entrench power. Well you know some. Some people have been saying that. Actually Victor or did have had many of these tools already at his disposal. You know since returning to power in twenty ten with two thirds super majority in the parliament. He and his government have been able to rewrite the constitution and Pass the laws even laws that they couldn't get through parliament get them into the constitution later. So what's what's quite interesting is that he tried to rush this through last week Which would have required eighty percent in the parliament to to approve Just because of technical procedures and of course the opposition small and fragmented in Hungary though it may be Refused TO APPROVE. Something that would have no sunset clause and no expiration you know they pleaded and beg. They said it's okay to have a state of emergency you know. Let's renew it every ninety days or something like that And since then the government and the pro government media have been trying to portray the opposition as being with the virus as as not having interest of the Hungarian people at Heart. And so it's it's seen that this is going to be also something to to campaign against the opposition with when the time comes. I should mention that you. You mentioned that there can be no elections held and it's very specific in the law that there can be no by elections referenda or you know small elections but he doesn't mention anything about general elections but there aren't supposed to be any major elections until two thousand twenty two but still the fact that you know if mayor resigns or dies or something like that there can be no elections held. It is quite alarming now. Of course we know that Hungary's currently facing Article Seven proceedings under the EU treaty. That's us when countries a breaching the blocks core values. Is there anything that you can do to censure Hungary and indeed? Should it be doing anything beyond this? Yes I mean. I think raising Raising this as a point of discussion is incredibly important. I think that it's not only about Hungary. But P many people are watching Brussels now to see how they're going to handle this. You know people who are worried about the state of democracy but also people who may leaders who may also want to use this crisis to take advantage of grabbing ever more power so Justice Commission Rangers has said that he's going to review this to see if it's in line with the rule of law. And you know there is a now going to be an entire procedure where all countries legal systems and rule of law levels will be under increased scrutiny from Brussels but I but how you handle this I think will actually be crucial for for how many states perceive their ability to rein them in and you know a prime minister. Orban has really pushed that the article. Seven procedure can only discuss What was the findings of the so-called Sargentini report that passed through the European Parliament? Which was the way that the articles haven't proceedings were initiated? So anything that happened after that he argues is not fair game and I think taking a forceful approach to look at what's happened also. Since then because that wasn't September twenty eighteen will be very important. I mean hungry is just one example looking across the world there are authoritarian regimes using this to further cow their populations. It's a it's a kind of cloak of respectability if you like I mean looking at Russia's specifically or all of this new tech that's come in the the facial recognition tag. It seems that that has given the state many sweeping new powers absolutely yes. It's quite interesting to watch. I've I've also been trying to do a comparative study on how strong men are are using the crisis. But you know when you look at what's happening in in Russia or in the Philippines Thailand you know and even in Israel before the unity government was agreed upon this week. You still have you still remember that. Okay there are other leaders doing this but but this is the European Union and it's true within the EU. I think sixteen member states have imposed states of emergency. Absolutely none of them have done so without a sunset clause or some indication of when it could end or come up for renewal at least Valerie. Thank you very much. Indeed that's Valerie Hopkins South East Europe correspondent for the Financial Times speaking to us from Budapest..

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