Are you sure?

FT: Worrisome Hungarian constitution

Hungary’s parliament will vote on a new constitution on Monday. Critics say that the document has been rushed through with little consultation and could undermine key democratic checks and balances, FT writes. Opposition politicians and civil society groups warn that the new constitution represents the governing Fidesz party’s “populist nationalist and overly Christian outlook” and could serve to destabilize future governments, the article says.

According to analysts, the hands of future government could be tied since key areas like taxation rules will require a two-thirds majority to overturn. Also the fiscal council will have a veto right over the budget, and the president can dissolve the parliament if a budget is not passed according to the new basic document. Both institutions are seen as loyal to Fidesz, the article stresses.

FT quotes Krisztián Szabados, member of Political Capital think-tank in Budapest who said that even if Fidesz lost the elections, the party would have the power to make the new government fall. Lajos Bokros, an MEP and former Hungarian finance minister was also quoted, who said that the new constitution was “really an attempt to weaken considerably the rule of law and checks and balances in a democracy”.

The article added that investors will probably welcome the so-called “debt brake” that will force the government to lower public debt from around 80% of gross domestic product to below 50%.

If approved the constitution will come in force on January 1 2012.