President János Áder announced Wednesday night that he will sign and thus make into law the government’s controversial changes to the constitution passed by Parliament on Monday. Looking at the law regulating the obligations of the president, he had no other choice, Áder said in an unscheduled address broadcast on public television. He stressed that acting against the word of the law would be irresponsible, something that no Hungarian may do.
Áder was considered a last hope for opponents of the constitutional changes. The controversial measures include annulling the legal precedents of the past 23 years for constitutional jurors, giving authorities the jurisdiction to crack down on the homeless, essentially outlawing gay marriage and making college students’ obligation to stay in Hungary after their studies are completed a fundamental requirement.
The amendment was widely criticized since the passages that were made part of the basic document have already been struck down once by the Constitutional Court only to be made part of the core document. Besides the domestic civil and political opponents, the European Commission as well as key diplomatic and trade partners to Hungary have also voiced strong concerns regarding the government’s chosen course of action in the matter.