Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

Category: Hungary

  • How to Evade the Constitution: The Case of the Hungarian Constitutional Court’s Decision on the Judicial Retirement Age

    Kim Lane Scheppele, Princeton University On Monday 16 July, the Hungarian Constitutional Court handed down its biggest decision of the year.   It held that the sudden lowering of the retirement age for judges is unconstitutional because it gave the judges no time to prepare for the change and because it created an unclear framework in which different judges were set to retire at different ages.  

  • Romania in Hungary’s Footsteps: Different Victor, Same Strategy

    [cross-posted with thanks from] On January 1, 2012 with an amended Constitution in place, Hungary, the once-praised EU accession candidate, proved that rule of law and consolidated judicial institutions are not at all irreversible. A new shift of power brought to Budapest the necessary political power that allowed Viktor Orbán and the FIDESZ government to silence the Hungarian Constitutional Court, one of the strongest and most active Courts in Central and Eastern Europe.

  • Arato on Hungary: Don’t Call it a Dictatorship

    [note: cross-posted from] It may seem like a scholastic question: is the current Hungarian regime a dictatorship (or an autocracy) in light of the changes made by the Constitution of 2012, the so-called Basic Law? Does answering this question make a difference for those seeking to reverse or replace the regime?

  • Hungary’s New Constitution

    The new constitution of Hungary—called the Fundamental Law of Hungary—became effective a couple of days ago on January 1, 2012. The day after its coming into force, thousands of Hungarians gathered in Budapest to protest the nation’s new constitution. Analyses of the day’s events are available here, here and here.

  • New Hungary Constitution: New Opinions

    Our contributor Andrew Arato, along with other leading academics, submitted an amicus brief to the Venice Commission concerning the new Constitution of Hungary. It is in many ways a devastating critique of the new document on both substantive and procedural grounds.

  • Arato: Orban’s (Counter) Revolution of the Voting Booth and How it was Made Possible

    During the age of great revolutions, Joseph de Maistre distinguished between counter revolutions and the contraries of revolutions. Fearing, rightly, that counter revolutions may have the same horrible consequences as the Jacobinism that he witnessed, he expressed his preference for the contrary of revolutions, but never really explained how it would work.

  • Arato on Constitution Making in Hungary and the 4/5 Rule

    The worst thing about the current constitution making process in Hungary led by the FIDESZ government is the process itself: under an opposition boycott, and involving an absurd process of popular consultation through sketchy and deficient mail in citizen questionnaires, it lacks all genuine aspects of participation and inclusion.

  • Petition on Hungary

    Other than the fact that it would be the first national constitution drafted on an I-pad, Hungary’s proposed new constitution is engendering serious concern. Although the Orban government is associated with the political right, voices have been raised across the political spectrum, including the Wall Street Journal.

  • Hungary’s proto-authoritarian new Constitution

    Hungary is about to give itself a new constitution: 21 years after the peaceful transition from communism to democracy the nationalist-conservative government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, by virtue of its 2/3-majority in parliament, has tried to put the country on a entirely new constitutional course, with exceptional haste: Last week a draft for a new constitution was published, this week parliament has begun to discuss it, and in the week before Easter it will be adopted and promulgated.