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Fascism in Hungary

January 2, 2012
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From Kim Lane Scheppele via PKrug at the NYT:

On New Year’s Day, the new Hungarian constitution became law. The Hungarian parliament has been preparing for this event by passing a blizzard of “cardinal” – or super-majority – laws, changing the shape of virtually every political institution in Hungary and making the guarantee of constitutional rights less secure. In the last two weeks alone, the parliament has enacted so many new laws that it has been almost impossible to keep up. And to top it off, there was also a huge new omnibus constitutional amendment – an amendment to the new constitution even before it went into effect. By one commentator’s count, the Fidesz government has enacted 359 new laws since it came to power 18 months ago.

All of the laws connected to the new constitutional structure kicked into action yesterday if they hadn’t already taken effect. As a result, with the new year, Hungarians began living in a new constitutional order. In this new order, all of the escape hatches that would permit reentry into a constitutional democracy have been bolted shut. If constitutions are supposed to guarantee checks on political power and ensure the rights of citizens, this is an unconstitutional constitution.

This is scary.

Hat tip to RBM, who indicates this has been an ongoing PKrug topic.

Let Hungary be a lesson to the Austerians:

Hungarians went through a huge economic shock, earlier and deeper than most of their neighbors. And they turned sharply to the right, politically.

But the party they elected wants to entrench itself in power for the foreseeable future. Hungarians don’t want this, but they can’t stop it. Hungarian politics has been hijacked.

From August:

Basically, Hungary is pursuing a harsh, seemingly endless austerity program, and keeping interest rates relatively high, in an effort to support its currency. This in turn is considered essential because (a) Hungary wants to join the euro (b) there’s great fear that a devaluation of the forint would cause big debt problems, because so much Hungarian private-sector debt is in other currencies — euros, and even Swiss francs.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. RBM permalink
    January 2, 2012 9:36 pm

    I’ve only read one of the background links the ‘in an earlier post’ which is this one: http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/19/hungarys-constitutional-revolution/

    Have you read any of the others ? There’s a lot of material there.

    • January 2, 2012 10:16 pm

      No. I spent some time looking for other stories, but this one is definitive. That’s a great suggestion. I’ll try to find some time tomorrow to drill down into the story. Please let us know if you find anything significant.

  2. January 3, 2012 12:05 pm

    From the post:

    By one commentator’s count, the Fidesz government has enacted 359 new laws since it came to power 18 months ago.

    Where does that leave California which enacted 725 new laws in the span of 12 months?

    http://leginfo.ca.gov/pdf/BillsEnactedReport2011.pdf

  3. January 3, 2012 3:09 pm

    Billy:

    Does one have anything to do with the other?

    The two are not directly related, however the logic is.

    From the post:

    All of the laws connected to the new constitutional structure kicked into action yesterday if they hadn’t already taken effect. As a result, with the new year, Hungarians began living in a new constitutional order.

    If the passage of 350 new laws over a year and a half is tantamount to changing the constitutional order (which I do not necessarily deny, however, some degree of law is needed for its protection) then what is the passage of 100% more law in 30% less time tantamount to?

    California is exploring that question.

  4. RBM permalink
    January 3, 2012 6:57 pm

    Here’s a Bloomberg piece, EU Has No Plan to Resume Hungary Aid Talks Amid Legal Probes that popped up in Google News.

    It’s got some detail about the details of the Orban government. It looks like a blatant power grab – but Orban is against the IMF which in my book is a good move. Centralization is the MO of the bloodsuckers AKA 1%’ers.

    So, I’m going to reserve judgement.

    • January 3, 2012 7:01 pm

      Thanks. The Wikipedia link on Hungary mentions that the IMF has been lending them money for years and we know they love austerity..

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