Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is now ruling by decree, without the consent of Parliament. Elections and referendums have been postponed, the parliament’s legislative powers suspended, and journalists now face five years in prison for spreading news the government deems to be fake and harmful. There is no “sunset clause” in the emergency measures bill, meaning the powers are granted indefinitely.

How will Mr Orbán use his new powers? One of the first emergency edicts has been to “make it impossible for transgender people to legally alter their gender”. In addition, 29 state properties (including orphanages and old-age homes) have been transferred to church control, in an effort to “strengthen the Church’s role in the social sphere”; controversial plans to develop a museum quarter in Budapest which had been blocked by local government will now be rammed through; and potentially embarrassing details of an expensive Chinese-funded rail infrastructure project have been made a state secret for a decade. It is unclear how any of these measures will help prevent or slow the spread of coronavirus in Hungary.

Supporters of the government point out that parliament can rescind the emergency measures at any point. However, in practice, this is unlikely to happen until the government is ready to give up its new powers (and a previous state of emergency it declared in 2015 over the migrant crisis is still ongoing) given that the ruling Fidesz party holds a two-thirds supermajority in parliament. Instead, the measures will likely have the effect of stripping power from local governments (where the opposition is strongest) and centralising it around Mr Orbán, as well as having a chilling effect on the media and muting any criticism of the government.

Has democracy been suspended in Hungary? Are Viktor Orbán’s new emergency powers necessary and proportionate? Or is Hungary sliding further into authoritarianism? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: BigStock – (c) Belish


68 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

    • avatar
      Gabriella

      Yes, we know that we are a bigger democracy than Germany, France, Italy etc…. where the EU globalist can kick out governments, can make stap down politicians who are not their liking… (Eg. Salvini, Afd, yellow west movement etc….)

    • avatar
      Gabriella

      I see the portuguese gang is coming…… I guess you have no clue about the situation in Hungary except from your farleft newspapers…. Portugal is one of the worst countries – only communist mentality can win in that country.

    • avatar
      Franco

      exactly, I don’t have any clue, therefore I repeat,
      ” only Hungary knows” and I trust their judgments. Good night.

  1. avatar
    Michael

    No, democracy hasn’t ended in Hungary. It is just that the president has absolute power to enact, repeal or amend any law indefinitely, to have people arrested for publishing any wrong news or information the accuracy of which he alone will determine, and he alone will decide when and if to relinquish that power. That’s all. It’s all perfectly above board. Eeeuuuuurope.

    • avatar
      Gabriella

      You lie… Nothing like that is in power at the moment. I guess your HUngarian language skills not really allow you to actually understand the law. DO you know that teh state of emergency was voted for in the Parliament by 72%? Orban has only 66%. 6% of opposition voted for the state of emergency as well!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Only teh liberals adn the ones that constantly run to teh EU to report ORban voted against. THis 28% are coming from teh old communists…..

    • avatar
      Matt

      So more like a ‘Dictatorship’ then??

    • avatar
      Michael

      Tut, such a harsh term. We don’t use the D-word. It’s not a dictatorship, it’s a one-man democracy.

    • avatar
      Stelios

      So what? Dictatorships have often (at least initially) the support of the majority of parliament or of the people. That doesn’t make them less of a Dictatorship. The issue is that a single man has collected almost all the power without any mechanism in place to control his actions. I am sorry, but this can’t be called a democracy.

    • avatar
      Gabriella

      I guess your knowledge is from liberal newspapers adn fake news on Hungary…. Orban has won elections with 2/3rd 3 times in a row. There were foreign observeers, much control over him. But people, especially Hungarians, are not taht stupid to elect someone who is a dictator. We lived thru communism and we know very well that the Hungarian opposition (teh old communists and their interest groups) are the ones that create this media hype about him. It is really shameful about your kind that you make judgments about a man who was the first one talking against communism. He is a bigger democrat than macron and Merkel together…

    • avatar
      Gabor

      Dude you are truly not the sharpest knife in the workshop, even if the fieces of the dog can be scraped off and collects by you too on the street. Shut up and don’t harm many of the hungarian people with your technically and in parts true but anyway manipulated and manipulating disinformations. Not even one Hungarian needs your opinion! Not in the Fidesz and not in the opposit.

    • avatar
      Matt

      Yes a mucher nicer way of putting it. He and Hungary need to do whats best for Hungary!!

    • avatar
      Goncalo

      the only Hungarian people the truth hurts is Orbán and his cronies! And that’s fine by me!

    • avatar
      Stelios

      You understand that asking a person expressing his opinion to “Shut up” because you don’t like his opinion is not very democratic. It seems that your president has many good students of his idea of “Democracy”.

    • avatar
      Gabriella

      Just for you…See the Hungarian Parliamnet in action. You know, the one that is supposedly was locked down by Orban. You can follow it real time….

  2. avatar
    Fabio

    No, Hungary is not sliding into authoritarianism…. It is into authoritarianism

    • avatar
      Alex

      As a German I want the banana republic out so you guys could keep your money and the funds that they receive from us should be going to your place. Before calling for corona bonds we should sort out the funds that we have, which means ejecting unnecessery weigth/orbans

    • avatar
      Gabriella

      you are till are spreading your lies….

  3. avatar
    Alex

    The country should get ejected from the EU. It receives money even from countries that have problems themselves, like Italy. It never helps in anything, be it migration or the entire Corona issue. I’m positive Orban won’t accept any cuts from the EU to redistribute money to Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and has destroyed turned the country into a Russia-style banana republic with no separation of power. It’s unbareable that countries that are in need themselves pay for a place that would never return the favor and keeps degenerating the last bit of its democracy. In case Poland or some other eastern Europeans block the decision Germany should just entirely stop its payments into the budget until they accept

    • avatar
      Chris

      until they accept the destruction of their culture and identity by allowing mass migration?

  4. avatar
    orangepigeon

    A man cannot become a woman and a woman cannot become a man. Surely society as a whole or elements of the society can choose to accept a person who was born male or female and to call them by the name they prefer, but again a man can never become a woman and a woman can never become a man, it is a simple fact of biology. We should stop encouraging the trans fantasy, because if they get the operation they will find out the hard way that the man or woman they are trying to appeal to doesn’t actually consider them to be the new gender they claim to be and then they will fall hard emotionally, some even kill themselves. Trans is very much a mental health problem so there is no perfect solution, but there is a cover up of that aspect in some ridiculous attempt at normalising the abnormal. If a man who is your good friend told you that he is a dog would you play fetch with him, would you encourage him to go to the veterinarian, or would you try to explain why it is impossible for him to be a dog?
    And how would you react if he gets a female dog and is trying to ”marry” her?
    Again ”we should stop encouraging the trans fantasy”.

    Viktor Orban has been given these powers by the Hungarian parliament, why should he not use them if he is legal to do so?
    Instead of blaming him we should be blaming the Hungarian parliament that didn’t install the necessary checks and balances to limit a Presidents power, after the history lesson of the ”Ermächtigunsgesetz” that gave Hitler unlimited power no parliament has any excuse to say they didn’t know what could happen.
    The question should be has he broken a single law?
    I am guessing the answer is NO.
    Viktor Orban is like the fly in the beer glass of the no borders elite. One of the few leaders in Europe willing to stop the mass muslim migration and it’s undesirable consequences to Europe. Europe must defend it’s borders, Christian heritage, modern values, technology and it’s way of life. Yes migration is normal but mass migration of illegals and of people who have been our historical enemies (osmanian empire, north African caliphates etc.!) is not normal and can never be normal. Some want to tarnish the idea of borders but humans are not the only beings with borders, when a strange lion approaches a lion pride he is attacked by the alpha male of that pride, bees attack other types of bees on flowers, guard dogs would kill an intruder into a property, many different beings do not accept outsiders from entering their space, because in nature outsider=danger. There is only one Europe, there is no plan B if we lose it to islamization. How many more Islamic terrorist attacks need to happen on European soil before our leaders are willing to do their job and keep these illegals and fake refugees out of our countries. And for heavens sake stop creating wars in the middle east, nobody could have imagined that when that imbecile G W Bush invaded Iraq in 2003 that this would be the situation in 2020 but now we know better, but these insane leaders just set one country after the other on fire with no end in sight, after Iraq it was Libya then Syria then Yemen and soon Venezuela and Iran. Europe is paying a heavy price in blood and treasure for the endless US/UK/France/NATO wars. Maybe we should send all the refugees to live on Bush Jrs ranch in Texas. Oh no wait, the USA doesn’t want muslims, they don’t even want catholic Mexicans with whom they surely have more in common than an Afghan goat herder from the tribal regions of Afghanistan. Can you imagine how real American men would react to seeing things happen in their community like what we have seen in Europe. The biggest danger is not even Islamic terror even though it is the most violent danger, the biggest danger is cultural crossover, you see everybody thinks we can civilize these people by teaching them our cultures and how to do shopping but nobody stops to realize that cultural exchanges usually go in both directions, it’s not just kebabs and shisha bars that they bring to us, it’s also their patriarchal views about a woman’s role in society, the hatred for gay people, the hatred for jews and Christians and for America and the west.
    It is true that not all muslims are bad and I am not claiming that they all are, my concern is specifically about those who are bad and what they will bring into our societies. We have past statistics to prove that migration from certain countries brings crime. The criminals are not coming from Finnland or Australia they come from Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Kurdistan, Iraq etc., again not everybody from there is bad but the crimes we see in the news are shocking.

    If Viktor Orban is evil then maybe he is a necessary evil, if the good nice politicians won’t protect Europe then the bad evil ones will have to suffice as long as somebody is in fact protecting Europe. In the end the only thing forever is time, and Viktor Orban will not lead Hungary forever.

  5. avatar
    Gabriella

    No, you morons. Look at France, look at Denmark. Their state of emergency measures are much stricter than Hungary’s. The Hungarian Parliament is still in session on the contrary to the EU Parliament which is CLOSED – although all western libtard fakenews spread a lie about Orban dismissing the Parliament. It is really enough now about all the attacks on Hungary (about 10 years, since he got in power). Deal with your country’s horrible death rate for Covid19 and leave the E-Eu countries alone!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. avatar
    Κωνσταντίνος

    Definitely and I really dont know if there is any longer a place for this state in europe.

  7. avatar
    Olivier

    Stop attacking Orban who does what you are unable to : to protect our borders and our cultures

    • avatar
      Goncalo

      Also, protecting taxpayer’s money by hiding it in his cronies’ bank accounts! Like a true nationalist!

    • avatar
      Bruno

      which “our borders”? which “our culture”? A supposed Christian nation folllows J-E-S-U-S C-H-R-I-S-T and his taughts about love and tolerance, not about racism and xenophobia like shitty Orban. But the curent French are also the same shame

  8. avatar
    Matt

    Most of European countries have a similar thing, like France for example. But yeah… Hungary is the devil… Sure…

  9. avatar
    Ana

    Yes. It has. And to those who still are in denial, please educate yourselves in political science.

    • avatar
      Alex

      That’s right! They don’t deserve to stay in our club

  10. avatar
    Enric

    Not, Hungary, as Britain long ago, is up to the brim of the EU useless laws interfering with the national ones.

  11. avatar
    Dragan

    There are three main issues. First of all, Hungary has a track record of a partly-free state according to Freedom House and other democracy-measuring institutions. Mr. Orban is not denying it- on the contrary he boasts that he is building an illiberal democracy and therefore destroying the sole pillars of European and EU democracy. Warnings have kept coming from all sides and the country is seen as a hybrid regime and there are many allegations of corruption and links to Russia and China. Therefore, all the developments are to be seen in this context. Secondly, a major problem is that the emergency powers are not time-limited- contrary to all the guidelines given in the Paris Standards and the practice of the ECtHR. Thirdly, the cardinal act that introduces the emergency state makes amendments to the Criminal law and imposes a severe punishment for the spreading of disinformation regarding the Coronavirus. The problematic part here is that these new criminal offences might easily be misused by the government to fight dissent and shut down every media, journalist and ordinary citizen who will be bold enough to speak of the government’s shortcomings regarding the epidemic. These newly introduced amendments to the Criminal law will remain part of the Hungarian legal system even after the pandemic ends.

  12. avatar
    Maia Alexandrova

    If the Hungarian people support Orban, then there is no issue with democracy. The evidence is that a large majority of the Hungarian population is happy with him. This shows a very strong democracy. It seems the attacks on him are coming from political opponents, including those in EU institutions. Those opponents are not elected by the Hungarian people which means that they are the ones attacking democracy in Hungary. Whoever is against the people, is against democracy. Orban’s political opponents in EU should learn to respect the choices of the Hungarian people first, before complaining about democracy there.

  13. avatar
    UknownWarrior

    The Hungarian nation is of a nomad descent. The Hungarians are descendants of Attila the Hum. The same Attila who conquered or destroyed the Roman Empire.

    The Hungarian language is unique and nobody, but Hungarians themselves speak it.

    Budapest is a beautiful city. Historically Bulgaria and Hungary have been allies with Germany, Austria and the Ottoman Empire.

    There is a lot of German investments in Hungary from Germany. The Austro-Hungarian Empire has been a quite big player in the European history.

    Hungary has always been a good friend of Bulgaria and investor. Victor Orban is just protecting the Hungarian interests in Europe and he is not suspending democracy in Hungary!

  14. avatar
    Charlotte

    Definately Europe should have a clear vision about its own values and exclude countries that do not share that vision… now all we see is a weak Europe. No wonder Europe is not capable of inspiring its people.

  15. avatar
    Ntinos

    in EU not just Hungary, last example Ursula von der Leyen imposed election as president.

    • avatar
      Chris

      total lack of democratic process, changing of fiscal rules when it suits, total changing of state aid rules when it suits etc

  16. avatar
    Pamela

    I think the whole idea of the quarantine is to take out our liberties, next will be the chip, all with the excuse that is for our own benefit… So soon we all are going to live in a camouflage dictatorship.

  17. avatar
    Maciej

    Suspended? It hasnt been there for some time and its the same story in Poland authoritarianism took over.

  18. avatar
    David

    Guys freedom is a continous fight stop funding these government and fund the people directly in what ever possible. War has already started and it will not be country against country it will be people against polititions of that I have no doubt. Take a look at your government and look at who is in power and study what the families of these in power are doing and where they are doing and I have no doubt that in you will find more and more family members are being given power position. So its like the saying says blood is thicker than water.

  19. avatar
    Max

    Why is Debate Europe even actually asking? By definition, a dictatorship is a regime that rules by decree.

    • avatar
      Antonio

      …and fastly, please!

  20. avatar
    Olivier

    France also is ruling the country by décret…

  21. avatar
    Pedro

    Hungarians are too used to authoritarism.

  22. avatar
    Jarlath

    I don’t understand how the EU could have a set of liberal democratic values and then prop up the Hungarian regime by allowing them to benefit from all the perks of EU membership. There should be minimum standards of democratic practice to be a member of the EU and expulsion should be immediate if a country doesn’t reach it. What does the EU stand for if it funds an anti-democratic state?

    • avatar
      Bart

      We’re talking about the same EU that denied its population a say in its constitution, and that stood idly by as Spain violently beat back participants of the Catalonian referendum. The same EU that immediately considered kicking Greece out of the Eurozone when it hit financial trouble, and that completely failed to respond to covid19 as its member states individually closed their borders and sometimes stopped or hindered the export of medical supplies to other member states.
      The EU doesn’t have any principles, especially not when it comes to democracy or cooperation. It exists first and foremost to benefit those in power.

    • avatar
      Jarlath

      I keep noticing a trend. People who are anti-eu blaming the EU for a nation’s decisions. The Spanish are to blame for their reaction to protestors.
      We must have been following the Greece crisis differently. What does “immediately considered kicking Greece out of the Eurozone” mean?
      What did you want the EU to do? Start issuing mandatory rules in an ever-changing global health crisis? Italy got screwed over when covid hit but what did you expect when it seemed that was the natural impact of the disease in a country? That was every country looking out for itself. I don’t know what you’d expect the EU to do to make things better.
      The EU has shown itself to be undemocratic where countries have had to vote a second time on treaties. Farmers seem to be getting forced to conform to standards that are ridiculous. But the EU has been at the centre of labour protection laws, minimum wage, legal representation, trade protection and human rights. If you think the dissolution of the EU will make European countries more free, China and the US might have something to say to that. There’ll be no ‘European standard’ regulating products coming in. And Spain or Greece on their own won’t be dictating the rules of trade with China or the US. As a bloc, the EU has alot of influence that the independent countries just wouldn’t have if they were on their own.

    • avatar
      Bart

      Jarlath, I’m not against the EU per se, but the “union” does show some very severe and fundamental flaws that make the EU in its current form democratically unacceptable. It seems to me that all is fine as long as the pressure is off, but as soon as shit hits the fan, the EU shows a very ugly side of itself. Note also that I did not blame the EU at all for what happened in Spain. I pointed out that it stood by and watched as Spain struck down its own citizens who were merely voicing their opinions.
      When Greece got in trouble, scenarios were drawn up for a possible withdrawal of Greece from the Eurozone, both intentionally and as a necessary consequence of events. “Plan Z” about Greece’s withdrawal was created by the EU in total secrecy, without Greece’s knowledge.
      After it became clear what we are dealing with in terms of covid19, I would have expected the EU at the very least to close its borders and start working on a plan, any plan, that could help in this crisis. Instead, all those countries which like to virtue signal how much they are against nationalism immediately closed their own borders and got all protectionist about their medical supplies. And the EU, with its virtuous values of cooperation and unity, was nowhere to be seen.

  23. avatar
    Anatilde

    Exclude Hungary they never had our values as times goes by instead of bettering themselves they got worst.

    • avatar
      Chris

      bettering themselves by mass migration?

    • avatar
      Boyko

      Glad to hear some have bettered themselves.

    • avatar
      Balázs

      could you please specify what you mean by ‘our values’ and why you think Hungary never had them?

    • avatar
      Anatilde

      far right is not compatible with our EU foundations. Hungary should’ve never got in in the first place.

    • avatar
      Balázs

      of course it’s not, but please do not associate a whole country, citizens, culture, history with its government of 10 years. There was Hungary before the current ruling party was an in power, and there will be after they re long gone. A country’s just so much more than a bunch of arrogant narrow minded tools who re currently in power.

    • avatar
      Ana

      I agree with you in principle, Hungary goes far beyond this episode of narrow minded men ruling but for the time being, its EU membership should be suspended untill Hungary meet again the democratic principles and democracy checks and balances.

  24. avatar
    Antonio

    I do not believe anything in this Europe, it treats the same as different and different what is equal and further away from the citizens, which is contrary to its true matrix that has always characterised it.

  25. avatar
    Христо

    Orban describes his regime as ,,illiberal democracy”. Which is oxymoron because there is no democracy other than the liberal one. Orban is a political chameleon. He started as a liberal in the 80s and was Soros graduate and now he is against Soros and plays the role of a conservative. He is also very dangerous because he is religious Calvinist. They are one of them most dangerous groups in Christianity.

    • avatar
      Tonino

      how are the Calvinists “one of the most dangerous groups in Christianity”, pray, say

  26. avatar
    Gabriella

    Hungary is fine and is more democratic than the liberalnazi regimes of western-eu. I am reading all the below comments – it is scary that people form opinion based on media fakenews. So I would like to assure all of you, that Hungary is more free than your countries are, including France (where Macron beats up teh yellow west protesters) , Spain (where Katalolina’s freedom fighters are beeten up), Sweden, Belgium, Netherlands where even the police does not dare to go into the no-go zomes), Germany (where an elected party supports a politician but Merkel can singel handedly remove that person) and all of the above countries where only the mainstream liberal media can survive….

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