New “authorization act” removes parliamentary oversight over emergency government decrees

On 8 June 2022, the governing majority in the Hungarian Parliament adopted the Fourth Authorization Act, which completes the Hungarian Government’s efforts to keep its excessive regulatory powers acquired first with a view to the pandemic by using the war in Ukraine as a pretext, and to be able to rule by decree without any parliamentary oversight.

The Government of Hungary declared a state of danger as of 25 May 2022 with a reference to the war in Ukraine, allowing itself to override Acts of Parliament via emergency government decrees. Under the Fundamental Law, such emergency government decrees can remain in effect after an initial period of 15 days only with the Parliament’s approval given in full knowledge of the contents of the decrees. During the three states of danger declared by the Government due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this safeguard was regularly circumvented by three so-called “authorization acts”, removing parliamentary oversight over individual decrees.

The Fourth Authorization Act fulfils the same purpose regarding the new state of danger declared with a reference to the war in Ukraine, following the same pattern that the Government and governing parties used during the pandemic to grant excessive regulatory powers to the Government. As a result of the Fourth Authorization Act, the legislative process loses the last remnants of inclusiveness and transparency, even the last formal and symbolic safeguards in terms of parliamentary oversight are removed, and, once again, all power is placed in the hands of the Government.

For more details about the background and contents of the Fourth Authorization Act and why the power to rule by decree has significance if there is a parliamentary supermajority, see our new information note, available here:

Hungary’s Fourth Authorization Act: Completing the Efforts to Grant the Government Excessive Regulatory Powers Once Again (9 May 2022)

 

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Hungarian Helsinki Committee