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Parliament approves Hungary's new constitution

Hungary's parliament approved the country's new constitution by a vote of 262 in favor, 44 against and one abstention on Monday.

The ruling alliance of the Fidesz party and the Christian Democratic People's Party (KDNP) voted in favor of the law, while the radical nationalist party Jobbik voted against the law and the opposition Hungarian Socialist Party and green party Politics Can Be Different boycotted the vote.

The governing Fidesz-KDNP alliance won a two-third majority in the 386-seat Parliament in spring 2010 elections.

The new constitution stipulates that laws on the budget, tax and customs can only be overruled by the Constitutional Court if they violate the right to life, human dignity or certain personal freedoms. These restrictions will be lifted once the public debt falls to below 50 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), a requirement specified separately in the new basic law.

An existing law on fixing the term of the State Audit Office head at 12 years and extending the chief prosecutor's to nine years from six is enshrined in the new constitution.

A new three-member fiscal council is handed the power to veto the budget by the constitution. Should parliament fail to pass the budget by the end of March, the president can dissolve parliament.

The Forint as Hungary's national currency is carved in stone in the new supreme law, which also stipulates that changes to the new constitution must have a two-thirds majority. The central government will have controls over local-government borrowing.

To change laws on tax, pensions and the central bank will require a two-thirds majority.