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23rd November, 2023

Special House session convened to debate sovereignty bill

Parliament will hold a special two-day session next week to debate the sovereignty protection bill and other proposed legislation, including amendments to the Basic Law, so that they may be voted on, HVG reports.

As well as the sovereignty bill, MPs would debate a proposal to ban unions in the armed forces.

According to the proposal for the agenda, to be discussed by the House committee today, other topics would be on the agenda of the November 27-28 session, such as last year’s report by the commissioner of fundamental rights and his deputies.

MPs will also deal with Janos Lazar’s proposed amendment to the tobacco trade law, which would strictly punish the sale of tobacco products to people under the age of 18 and allow the opening of tobacco shops in workers’ accommodation.

HVG also says that, despite the additional two plenary session days, Parliament will not take time to ratify Sweden’s accession to NATO. (24.hu; hvg.hu)
23rd November, 2023

Opposition MPs see Russia and China as threats to sovereignty

The real threat to Hungary’s sovereignty comes from Russia and China, opposition parties said yesterday in response to the sovereignty bill submitted on Tuesday night.

At a press conference with representatives of the Socialist, Democratic Coalition and Momentum parties, Dialogue-Greens caucus leader Timea Szabo said Viktor Orban personally held talks with the Vladimir Putin who was declared a war criminal by the Hague International Court, Hungary’s dependence on Russian gas has not lessened, and Orban supported the Chinese Communist Party with Ft 1 trillion by setting up Chinese battery factories here.

“The real security risk is Viktor Orban and his government”, Szabo declared as she announced that the four opposition parties will next week “submit a real sovereignty protection package that will truly enhance Hungary’s security and stop the selling out to foreign interests”.

Momentum president Ferenc Gelencser called the bill an “intellectual distortion”, which he also called a “law of intimidation”, as it was drafted “solely to intimidate opposition politicians and civilians who disagree with the ideas of the state party”.

Democratic Coalition deputy caucus leader Gergely Arato said the bill is false, lying, misleading and base, as it is not the West but the cabinet of Viktor Orban that jeopardises Hungary’s sovereignty.

Separately, LMP co-president Erzsebet Schmuck said if the government wants the country to become sovereign, it should convert to energy independence as soon as possible. (444.hu)
23rd November, 2023

Mi Hazank proposes changes to Budapest election rules

Mi Hazank MP Istvan Szabadi has submitted an amendment motion to Parliament proposing that the members of the Budapest city council should be elected next year in a voting procedure based on party lists rather than appointing the mayors of the city’s 23 districts to the council.

Such a change would require a two-thirds majority in Parliament. But the modification of the election of the Capital Assembly, even enforced for next year’s election, may be more favourable to Fidesz right now.

The proposal would restore the previous system of electing the city council, which was changed by Fidesz in 2014, because the current system suited the party better then, 444 writes.

Since 2014, the system has been that the elected mayor is a member of the city council, along with the district mayors, and the remaining nine seats are allocated on the basis of compensation lists based on votes given for losing mayoral candidates in the districts.

However, this may no longer be the most favourable system for Fidesz, as the party may be more successful with a party list system, since it is the strongest party in Budapest, although it does not have a majority.

When the proposal was raised a month ago by former Free Democrat politician Gabor Fodor, the government media embraced it, calling it a left-wing idea, and now this left-wing idea has become a Mi Hazank amendment.

Mayor Gergely Karacsony alleged that Fidesz is behind the proposal, saying that “they are too cowardly to submit the proposal in their own name, but entrusted it to their semi-fascist sister party” barely seven months before the elections.

“The ruling powers that change their principles as often as others their underclothes are not worthy of the trust of the people of Budapest”, Karacsony wrote. (444.hu; 24.hu; rtl.hu; hang.hu; telex.hu)
23rd November, 2023

Bill would outlaw armed forces unions

It will be forbidden to form a trade union within the armed forces under a proposed amendment to the Basic Law officially submitted by deputy prime minister Zsolt Semjen on Tuesday.

One of the keys and not at all symbolic moves of what will be the 12th amendment to the constitution is that the government instead of Parliament could be in charge in future to decide on the legal status of professional members of the Hungarian Armed Forces.

In the future an armed forces union could only be formed according to the regulations defined in a government decree.

It may be that the government will allow some form of union, HVG writes, because the proposal states that: “Other interest-representative organisations operating in connection with the legal status of a professional member of the Hungarian Armed Forces may be formed and may operate according to the specific rules defined in the government’s decree.”

The detailed rules, according to the motion, could be worked out by the defence minister.

The bill would also enshrine in the Basic Law as part of the sovereignty protection package that it is the duty of all state bodies to defend Hungary’s constitutional self-identity and Christian culture. (telex.hu; hvg.hu; index.hu; infostart.hu; hirklikk.hu; atv.hu)
23rd November, 2023

Anti-EU posters modified

The posters depicting European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Alex Soros as would-be overlords telling Hungarians how to live has been modified, 444 reports.

The original version showed Soros’s right hand with his index finger pointing upwards, but this has been deleted from the new version.

No explanation has been provided for the change. A worker pasting over the old picture with the new suggested that Soros’s gesture might be some secret hand signal. A 444 journalist surmised that Soros’s open mouth and pointing hand make it look like the quote on the poster comes from him, and that he is advising von der Leyen “not to dance to their whistle”.

The website asked an unnamed senior government communication figure, but he said he had no idea why the change was made, even though he is a member of the innermost communication circle. (444.hu; 24.hu)
23rd November, 2023

Soros foundation calls new billboard campaign anti-Semitic

The political campaign launched by the Hungarian government which deprecates the head of the European Commission and the son of financier George Soros is “propaganda deeply tainted by anti-Semitism”, a spokesman for Soros’s Open Society foundation told Reuters on Wednesday.

He said Hungarian taxpayers’ money is again being used for political propaganda as part of a “well-worn tactic by the Hungarian government – creating a vague and imaginary foreign threat to distract voters from real domestic issues”.

Reuters recalls that while according to Orban there is zero tolerance in Hungary of anti-Semitism, the communication of the prime minister and the governing party has repeatedly presented the Hungarian born Jewish Soros as a puppeteer who plots to undermine his rule, among other things by supporting mass immigration.

State secretary for international communications Zoltan Kovacs dismissed as unfounded the accusations that the campaign is anti-Semitic. (hvg.hu; reuters.com)
23rd November, 2023

Teachers unions initiate resumption of strike talks

The Teachers’ Union (PSZ) and the Democratic Union of Teachers (PDSZ) have appealed to education state secretary Zoltan Maruzsa to resume the strike negotiations, and said teachers could go on strike at schools again if no agreement is reached with the government by January 2024.

The unions said the situation of half of those working in public education has not improved, and more teachers left after the adoption of the Status Law in the summer.

The unions added that classes are being taught by unqualified people and it is not rare for schools to employ students to replace the missing teachers.

The two unions are calling for a repeal of the Status Law, an immediate 50% wage hike for all those employed in public education, a reduction in the teaching hours to 22 per week, the abolition of the performance-evaluation system, the lifting of measures restricting the right to strike of those working in education, and the revival of a ministry of education. (telex.hu; economx.hu)

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