Parl't Approves Controversial National Sovereignty Protection Law

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Parliament on Tuesday approved legislation that establishes a Sovereignty Defense Office and introduces criminal sanctions for violating the prohibition on foreign campaign financing, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

The legislation was passed with a vote of 140 for, 50 against, and no abstentions.

he law assigns the Sovereignty Defense Office the task of preparing an annual report scrutinizing the activities of organizations that could use foreign funding to influence the outcome of elections.

The law allows prison sentences up to three years for people found guilty of taking or concealing prohibited foreign campaign financing.

The preamble to the law points to the united opposition's circumvention of that prohibition during the 2022 elections by using foreign funding through civil organizations conducting political activities and business corporations.

Earlier this month, over 100 Hungarian civil society organizations voiced their protest against adopting the new law, calling on the government to stop stigmatizing and intimidating citizens who are active in public affairs, according to a statement by the Civilization Coalition.

"A country where people are intimidated from representing their own interests is not a democracy. Where civil society organizations cannot operate freely, our most basic rights are not respected. Where citizens are accused of serving foreign interests if they speak their minds on public affairs, there is no freedom," the statement said.

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