Hungarian parliament adopts disputed new constitution

Last Updated: Monday, April 18, 2011 - 21:16

Budapest: Hungary`s centre-right-dominated
parliament adopted a controversial new constitution today,
with 262 votes in favour, 44 against and one member
abstaining.

"We are witnessing a historic moment as parliament passed
the new constitution," Laszlo Kover, MP for the ruling Fidesz
party and speaker of the house, said after the vote.

"It acknowledges Christianity as the basis of our
civilisation but it ensures moral freedom," he added before
calling on the national assembly to rise to sing the national
anthem.

The opposition Socialists and left-wing green LMP party
boycotted the vote while the far-right Jobbik party voted
against the text, insisting it eliminated the system of checks
and balances.

The new constitution was drafted solely by the
centre-right ruling Fidesz party of Prime Minister Viktor
Orban, without the participation of the opposition parties.

The text will now be ratified by President Pal Schmitt on
April 25 and enter into force on January 1, 2012.

Critics see the so-called "Orban constitution" as the
government`s attempt to cement its power and force its
Christian ideology on the country.

"The new basic law is going to be illegitimate and
temporary, and will have to be changed after the next
elections on the basis of a national consensus," Socialist
leader Attila Mesterhazy told a boycott event today.

During the vote, a flash mob organised via the social
networking site Facebook gathered near parliament, where a
giant Pac Man figure in the orange colour of Fidesz devoured a
sign representing the rule of law.

PTI



First Published: Monday, April 18, 2011 - 21:16

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