Fascism in Hungary
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.
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.