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OPPOSITION DEMANDS INCLUSION OF TIMEFRAME IN EPIDEMIC RESPONSE BILL

 

Before the law on enhancing the government’s powers was passed, Hungary’s opposition parties said they would only support the government legislation if it contained a sunset clause. Tamás Harangozó, group leader of the Socialist Party, told a press conference that the opposition would only support the proposal to grant the government extra powers if the legislation stipulates the end date for an extended state of emergency. Tímea Szabó, co-leader of Párbeszéd, said her party would support joint efforts against the virus, “but not [Prime Minister] Viktor Orbán’s unrestricted power”. She argued that no government in Europe had appealed for unlimited power. Conservative Jobbik’s MP László György Lukács said his party “believes in the strictest measures when democracy is protected, too”, and warned that parliament’s controls over the government should be maintained. Parliament should “hear the voice of those that say that Orbán must not use the epidemic to build a monarchy”, he said, adding that parliament’s operations were a fundamental requirement for democracy. László Varju, deputy leader of the Democratic Coalition, said that the government’s powers should be “justified and proportionate”, and ensure an opportunity for the opposition to appeal to the Constitutional Court, adding that the legislation must not curb media freedoms. Antal Csárdi, an MP of green LMP, said that his party also insisted on including a time limit, adding that such a restriction would not reduce the efficiency of the government’s measures. Momentum spokesman Miklós Hajnal said that “eliminating parliament would equal eliminating democracy”. He added that “no other country has requested such broad powers as Orbán desires”.