Two minutes to midnight on Tuesday, just the time to lay controversial legislation before parliament — If you’re Viktor Orbán that is. His government introduced draft laws to
- Amend the constitution to embed “Christian” values as part of his culture war against liberals. Irish readers will find this reminds them of populist leader Charlie Haughey’s antics about abortion in the early eighties. They became a national embarrassment removed by referendum decades later.
- Reduce the scope of what counted as “public funds” for oversight purposes. Now income earned by state-related entities that isn’t due to taxation won’t count as public funds.
- Set up new constitutionally entrenched foundations so that institutions they took over couldn’t be re-taken over once Fidesz lose power.
- And change the electoral law to raise the barrier for opposition parties to field a joint list. I think this will backfire, because it will further encourage opposition parties to join forces, but opinions differ.
For full details read the Hungarian Helsinki Committee’s excellent brief. They look to me (on Euronews) and Zselyke Csaky (in the FT, talking to Valerie Hopkins) like the actions of a government that’s scared it’ll lose the next election. Laurent Pech gave himself permission for a hollow laugh
Meanwhile it was Independence Day in Poland. And nothing marks Polish Independence Day there like a bunch of Nazis marching through the streets. Every year the Polish extreme right turn out for Independence Day forgetting that the extreme right didn’t exactly do much for Polish independence last time round. On Wednesday they fought the police and set fire to an apartment where a StrajkKobiet (women’s strike) flag was hung. The police themselves attacked journalists covering the protests. Notes from Poland has the goods.