State of danger can now be extended by up to 180 days, as many times as deemed necessary
October 25. 2022. – 09:26 AM
On Monday, the Hungarian Parliament adopted a resolution which as of 1 November, allows the state of danger (we wrote about the difference between the state of danger and state of emergency here) in Hungary to be extended by up to 180 days as many times as needed. According to the amendment
“the government may, with effect from 1 November 2022, request the authorisation of Parliament to extend the state of danger beyond 30 days for up to 180 days at a time, with the possibility of granting the authorisation more than once.”
The amendment allows the Parliament to extend the state of danger for (up to) 180 days again and again “in view of the armed conflict and humanitarian disaster on the territory of Ukraine and in order to avert the consequences thereof in Hungary.”
It was on 24 May that Viktor Orbán announced that a state of danger due to war in a neighbouring country would be declared from midnight that day. At the time, Orbán explained this by saying that there was a war going on next door, a war "which no one can see the end of yet", and that this necessitated that the government have room for manoeuvre and the ability to act immediately.
It was on this same basis that the Hungarian Fundamental Law was amended, adding the possibility of declaring such a state in the event of a humanitarian disaster or armed conflict in a neighbouring country.
In a short debate before the bill was adopted on Monday, Mi Hazánk MP, Előd Novák said that this amendment was "unacceptable" in its current form and that they did not support "the new world order, where our freedom is restricted". He lamented that, for example, even MPs cannot appeal to the Constitutional Court in the matter. According to Novák, the amendment means nothing more than "180 days of depriving people of their rights" and questioned why citizens should be happy about that.
According to Gergely Arató of Demokratikus Koalíció, "this means that Hungary's form of government has become a constant state of danger", and the government, hiding behind this, "continues to distribute money without reason" while the rights of certain social groups are being taken away. For example the teachers' right to strike was also taken away with this reasoning. According to Arató, the state of danger is like "the invading Russian army in Hungary back in the day: it arrived temporarily and stayed for a long time".
Boglárka Illés, a Fidesz member of the legislative committee, responded by saying that the governing parties do not want to maintain the state of danger, but they have no choice given that there is a war going on next to Hungary.
They have cited it on other matters too
The state of danger is a so-called qualified period in the Hungarian legal order, during which a special legal order comes into force. This means that in a state of danger the government can adopt decrees which suspend the application of certain laws.
But the government also cited the state of danger due to the war going on next door when it issued a decree saying that public spaces can be used free of charge for storing the firework display on 20 August, which was postponed for a week and finally held on 27 August – thus the state did not have to pay any fees for the extended use of public space to the city of Budapest (the mayor of which is a member of an opposition party).
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