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Constitutional Court strikes down National Bank Act amendments

April 4th, 2016

As the Constitutional Court blocks the amended National Bank Act, a left-wing and a conservative analyst accuse the government of large scale corruption. A pro-government columnist, on the other hand, claims that the verdict shows that the rule of law is alive and well in Hungary.

Last week, first the Kúria then the Constitutional Court struck down the amendments to the National Bank Act as unconstitutional (see BudaPost March 4). The Constitutional Court ruled that the assets transferred by the National Bank to its foundations are public funds, and thus no information can be withheld about their use. 

The rule of law is not yet completely dead, Miklós Hargitai in Népszabadság comments on the Constitutional Court’s verdict. The left-wing columnist accuses the government of  “taking over” all public offices and eliminating checks and balances so that it can channel billions of Forints to its hinterland and allies. Hargitai thinks that the Constitutional Court’s decision will not stop corruption, but at least it will help Hungarians realize the scale of the government’s dealings.

The lack of transparency under the Fidesz government is utterly disappointing, Péter Hajdú writes in Magyar Nemzet. The conservative columnist finds it disturbing that Fidesz, which came to power after accusing the previous left-liberal governments of corruption, now in government promotes large scale centralization and favours discretional spending. Hajdú suspects that people are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with this type of governance, and if the migration crisis winds down, Fidesz may lose public support.

In Magyar Idők, Anna Kulcsár finds the Constitutional Court’s ruling not at all surprising. The pro-government columnist thinks it was clear from the beginning to everyone that the amendments to the National Bank Act were unconstitutional, and the money the National Bank handed down to its foundations is still public money. In a democratic country it is not unusual that laws passed by Parliament are found unconstitutional, she notes. The Constitutional Court’s verdict shows that in Hungary, the rule of law is alive and kicking, Kulcsár concludes.


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