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Hungary Is No Longer a Democracy

World  (tags: world, politics, right wing politics, Hungary, repression, freedoms, 'HUMANRIGHTS!', 'CIVILLIBERTIES!', humanrights, government, news, europe, society )

- 1833 days ago -
Europe has been slow to act, but it is not too late.

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Sheila S (50)
Thursday April 11, 2013, 9:57 am
Very sad! I have friends that emigrated from Hungary and were proud to have contributed to its struggle for freedom. It would be terrible to see all of that go down the drain.

Tim C (2420)
Thursday April 11, 2013, 10:17 am

Winn A (179)
Thursday April 11, 2013, 11:15 am
Sad and thanks for the article.

pam w (139)
Thursday April 11, 2013, 5:27 pm
This is SERIOUS!

paula eaton (30)
Thursday April 11, 2013, 5:43 pm
Bad news

Jason S (50)
Thursday April 11, 2013, 6:47 pm
Good posting, thanks

Past Member (0)
Thursday April 11, 2013, 10:31 pm

Patricia H. (440)
Thursday April 11, 2013, 11:07 pm
sadly noted

Ruth R (246)
Friday April 12, 2013, 12:50 am
From the article --MY COMPUTER had trouble with link -- so I would like to read this here.
"Hungary is no longer a democracy
Europe has been slow to act, but it is not too late."
"A man wears a sticker on his mouth bearing the name of Hungary's governing party Fidesz at a protest on 30 March against the country's new constitution. (Photo: Getty.)"
It is now a fact: Hungary is no longer a democracy.

"President János Áder has just signed the implementation decrees for new constitutional reforms that wipe out what was left of opposition forces against the government.

More particularly, the Constitutional Court is no longer allowed to give its opinion about the content of laws and to refer to its own case-law – which results in the loss of almost all monitoring power on the legislature and the executive.

This meticulous destruction of democracy and its values – whose starting point was the landslide election of Fidesz in 2010 – has taken place over months and months, under everybody's eyes.

The attack was clear and continuous: crippling restriction of the freedom of the press, political direction of the Central Bank, inclusion in the Constitution of Christian religious references and of the "social utility" of individuals as a necessary condition for the enforcement of social rights, deletion of the word "Republic" in the same Constitution to define the country's political system, condemnation of homosexuality, criminalisation of the homeless, attacks against women's rights, impunity afforded to perpetrators of racist murders, the strengthening of a virulent anti-Semitism . . .

Only a few days ago, prime minister Viktor Orban officially decorated three extreme right-wing leading figures: journalist Ferenc Szaniszlo, known for his diatribes against the Jews and the Roma people, who he compares to "monkeys"; anti-Semitic archaeologist Kornel Bakav, who blames the Jews for having organized the slave trade in the Middle-Age; finally, "artist" Petras Janos, who proudly claims his proximity to the Jobbik and its paramilitary militia, responsible for several racist murders of Romani people and heiress of the pro-Nazi Arrow Cross Party, that organised the extermination of Jews and Gypsies during the Second World War.

This political degradation gives us a gruesome historical and political lesson. Throughout the twentieth century, representative democracy suffered the attacks of the two major totalitarian systems of the century – Nazism and Communism. Nowadays, in the twenty-first century, it is under the blows of an anti-European, nationalist, racist and anti-Semitic populism that democracy has fallen, at the heart of Europe, amidst the indifference of the European Union and of too many of its citizens and leaders.

Obsessed by economic and financial issues, too indifferent to its fundamental values ​​of freedom, equality, peace and justice, the EU has abandoned the fight to promote or even maintain democracy as the political system of its member states.

Unlike Putin's Russia, for example, Hungary is not a world power, and realpolitik cannot be invoked as a reason for this desertion. Since Hungary is strongly dependent on European subsidies and assistance, and since the EU has ominously shown in Greece how its financial support can be politicised to the extreme, its supposed lack of room for manoeuvre cannot be invoked either.

The fundamental reason is unfortunately as simple as it is worrying: it is a lack of commitment of the citizens and European leaders towards representative democracy as a political system.

This is why, since his re-election in 2010, Orban has received the unfailing support of many European leaders, notably from his own political family; this is also why the European Commission does not use any of the instruments available – though it does have many – to enforce the EU's fundamental values.

For example, the Commission, the Parliament and the European Council, where the states are represented, can act in concert to pursue actions under Article 7 of the EU Treaty, introduced by the Amsterdam Treaty in 1997 in order to avoid any backward step on democracy for any EU member state. Article 7 intends to suspend the voting rights of a country within the Council in case of a "potential violation of common values​".

In Hungary, however, the stage of risk was overstepped a long time ago. Actions under Article 7 should therefore be urgently taken, as a first step towards a strong EU commitment to defend democracy and its values.

Similarly, European civil society must continue to commit itself strongly to support Hungarian democrats who bravely fight within the country itself.

If the EU and civil society were not to commit themselves with the determination required by the gravity of the situation, we would be doomed to witness its rapid decay, in Hungary and soon elsewhere, if the European commitment turned out to be insufficient.

Let there be no mistake: what is at stake here is the nature of the European project and the ability of Europe to preserve our common and most precious commodity: democracy. For several decades, the choice between barbarism and democracy has never been so obvious.

Resolutely, we have to choose Europe and democracy."

Benjamin Abtan is president of the European Grassroots Antiracist Movement (EGAM)"

Ruth R (246)
Friday April 12, 2013, 1:16 am

Lessons to learn from and this is a start.
1. They created a dependence on the government. So, we need to help one person after another become very independent -- with plenty for each person -- and a way for each person to supply to themselves and possibly help another or others supply their need and some of their desires.
We need to make sure of this in the USA -- when a person can become self sufficient and educated in mind and heart about the reasons.
2. The numerous parallels are the challenges that the USA is attempting to overcome at this time.
3. We all know to much power corrupts -- so better to have many small groups, and govs, that can have their individual expression and their freedoms -- and come together only to defend themselves against any greater threat -- for example of a larger government.
4. Corporate control -- to overcome.
5. religious control -- to overcome.
6. While creating a blindness towards this -- taking away the power and the self-defense of the people -- slowly generation after generation -- to overcome in the USA,
7.. The creation of dependence, lack of will to be independent, lack of creativity and lack of innovation to stand up and do the good things -- that create a real life and a real civilization -- with TLC and people genuinely helping each person achieve fulfilled and meaningful lives.
8. To overcome -- the "blinding of the soul, mind, will, emotions, spirit, and body to the step by step process over the generations -- until there are no freedoms, no true lives lived" -- this challenge must be overcome.
I CAN, I WILL, SOMETIMES WE CAN, WE WILL. we must learn, understand, overcome these steps and bring the life to each willing man, women, and child.

Past Member (0)
Friday April 12, 2013, 7:24 am
I'm not lawyer and maybe that's about to become glaringly obvious but if you introduce a new constitution - or fundamental law - how can you use an old constitution to judge it? And, wasn't it the same democracy you are talking about that brought them in?

But let's look at this logically, Dumping 20 years of legal precedent will allow the Constitutional Court to base its work on the new constitution. Article 120 says: "The constitutionality of Acts of Parliament and treaties shall not be reviewed by the courts." This indeed sounds like a serious attack on democracy. In fact, as we can see, courts are explicitly prohibited from reviewing not only constitutional amendments, but any Act of Parliament. It is therefore perfectly understandable that the EU Commission, the Council of Europe and the United States express their serious concerns about this provision of the constitution.

Ah, sorry, wait a minute, I just see that I mistakenly copied Art 120 of the Constitution of the Netherlands.

And I certainly don't see any double standards.

Jeanne Young (19)
Friday April 12, 2013, 1:56 pm
Have we noticed yet that the USA is going the same direction(s)? We are currently being governed by the best representation (???) big money can buy - - - -

Paulett Simunich (0)
Friday April 12, 2013, 3:55 pm
signed.........with sadness.........when will we learn...........
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