With the Stroke of a Pen

Viktor Orbán and Emergency Rule-by-Decree in Hungary

16 June 2020

In international media there was some confusion about the bills passed through emergency decree-power and the regular parliamentary law-making which continued throughout the emergency. However, it is clear that transitioning from the state of emergency to a medical crisis later this month does not end Orbán’s rule-by-decree.

According to the Minister of Justice, Judit Varga, the state emergency and the special legal order will end on 20 June. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the widely criticised Coronavirus Act was approved on 30 March, granting the power to the ruling Fidesz party to govern the country by decree.

Contrary to what was erroneously suggested by CNN, the act did not lead to the closure of the Parliament, it was in session same as before. This mistake of sloppy journalism is quoted cynically ever since by the Hungarian Government to discredit and dismiss the portrayal of Hungary in the “Western Media” as fake news.

Both foreign and domestic media initially reported many of the newly passed bills in a misleading way. The articles often implied that the new act granting Viktor Orbán the power to rule by decrees  – also known as the Authorisation Act – was related to these or even that it was what made passing the bills possible.

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Adam Harangozó

Freelance journalist

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