President Pál Schmitt at the celebration of the constitution | MTI / Péter Kollányi

Hungary - no longer a republic in name

January 2, 2012

Hungarian governing parties celebrated the country’s new constitution, passed by them last year, in the State Opera House in Budapest Monday evening. The new constitution, which took effect on January 1, omits "republic" from Hungary's official name, and includes several paragraphs which Amnesty International says violate international human rights. the United States, the European Union and several of its member states have also indicated their worries. During the celebrations, tens of thousands of people demonstrated outside against the government restricting the democratic freedoms.

As the main speaker of the celebration, Hungarian president Pál Schmitt was of the view that the country's new basic law defines fundamental rights of freedom, and reinforces constitutional and democratic values in the spirit of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, Schmitt said, and referred to the family, public order, the home, labour and health as its most important common values.

The president closed his address with the last line of the constitution: "May there be peace, freedom and accord".

Apparaently, that national accord was missing as opposition parties and civil organizations staged a demonstration outside the Opera House against the new constitution that allows the prime minister to exert control on the judicial power and the central bank and to restrict the freedoms of the religious groups and the media.


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