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Govʼt submits bill ending emergency powers

The government submitted a bill to Parliament late Tuesday that would end its mandate to exercise extraordinary powers issued by lawmakers because of the coronavirus crisis and wind up a state of emergency declared on March 11, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

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Parliament approved legislation giving the government extraordinary powers to enact measures to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus on March 30, allowing it to extend a state of emergency declared by decree that had expired days earlier. 

The legislation, which required a two-thirds majority, was approved with a vote of 137 for and 53 against.

The law allows the government to "suspend the application of some legislation, diverge from legal provisions and take other extraordinary measures by decree in the interest of ensuring the security of life, health, person, property and rights of citizens as well as the stability of the national economy".

The legislation has come under fire from opposition MPs as well as European Union politicians because it contains no sunset clause.

State secretary Balázs Orbán said at a press conference on Tuesday that the vote on ending the state of emergency could take place within two weeks.

A separate bill submitted to Parliament by the government on Tuesday would serve to keep some provisional measures taken during the state of emergency in force, he added. It would keep the body coordinating Hungaryʼs response to the coronavirus pandemic in place, in case the country is hit by a second wave.

It would extend provisions affecting health insurance and family subsidies, as well as a measure making parking free of charge in public areas until July 1.

The bill would also ensure that a moratorium on repayments of corporate and retail loans remains in force until the end of 2020.