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Friendly criticism of the Fourth Amendment

March 21st, 2013

Conservative scholars say they will not team up with those who cry wolf and envision an end to democracy in Hungary. But they also explain why they cannot approve of either the content or the style of the recent constitutional amendments. They call for more humility on the part of the government.

Mos Maiorum spells out the objections of its conservative editors in what is exposed like a sort of conservative manifesto. The editors find that the government’s first priority was to demonstrate strength when they chose to inscribe statutes annulled by the Constitutional Court in the constitutional text. A constitutional (two thirds) majority should be accompanied by a readiness to compromise, self-discipline and more generosity, they point out, quoting Viktor Orbán who stated immediately after the 2010 election: “we need to keep this trust, so despite our overwhelming victory we should embrace humility and modesty in the years to come.”  Mos Maiorum also believes some of the issues tackled in the amendments, such as the legal situation of homeless people or the ban on election campaign ads and “the rather lengthy commentary on the former party state” should not be resolved in a constitution. In accordance with their “conservative leanings” the editors do not object in principle to the idea of defining the concept of ‘family,’ nor to the regulation of the registration of the churches in the Basic Law. But they do not agree with settling disputes by engraving a controversial position into the constitutional text. What they find most disturbing is the complete erasure of two decades of constitutional deliberations and rulings. The Constitutional Court on some occasion did stretch its powers, they admit, but this latest constitutional amendment is the expression of “the government’s anger.” They expect the “constituent parliamentary majority” to show “more wisdom, humility and self-restraint” in the future.

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