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Legislation likely to be signed into law by new president

Legislation passed last Thursday, on the last day of the Hungarian Parliament's special summer session will not be signed into law before Pál Schmitt, the current Speaker of Parliament takes his new office as Hungary's new President, statements made on Wednesday suggest. Schmitt will succeed László Sólyom as head of state from August 6.

Parliament passed a wide range of bills - such as the new media laws, the economic package, including the new banking law, a gross HUF 2 million-a-month cap on public sector pay, applicable to the central bank governor, and a 98% tax on severance pay above HUF 2 million in the public sector - on July 22.

Schmitt as the present Speaker of Parliament has had 15 days from parliamentary approval to sign the approved bills and send them to the President whose signature makes them into law. Speaking on the television channel HírTV on Wednesday evening, Schmitt said, however, that he had passed on his duties, including the signing and transferring of legislation, to deputy speaker Sándor Lezsák, explaining that his successor as speaker, László Kövér had already been elected.

The press office of Parliament confirmed to MTI earlier on Wednesday a statement by deputy speaker Sándor Lezsák saying that he would sign on August 6 the legislation passed by parliament and will send it to incoming president Schmitt on the same day.

In an open letter on Wednesday, András Schiffer, the parliamentary leader of the opposition party Politics Can Be Different (LMP) has asked Schmitt to sign the above laws so as to enable outgoing President László Sólyom to consider them, thereby dispelling press rumors that the parliamentary majority might have delayed the final vote on the laws to prevent Sólyom sending them back for reconsideration or submitting them for preliminary Constitutional Court review.

Although House rules make it possible for the outgoing speaker to send laws to the incoming president - in this case, Schmitt would be sending the law to himself - "this step would ... run counter to the spirit of the Constitution," Schiffer said. (MTI-ECONEWS)