Hungary’s Orban Defies European Union: Constitution Takes Effect
Tens of thousands of citizens of Hungary attended on Monday night a rally against the prime minister Viktor Orban, demanding of him to resign over the new Constitution, which took effect on January 1, 2012, in spite of criticism from the entire international community.
The protesters called Orban a “Viktator,” alluding to his authoritarian style of ruling, and demanded his resignation in front of the opera house, where he was attending a gala which was celebrating the new constitution. The prime minister and other personalities left the building through the back door.
The protest lasted for five hours and is said to have been organized against an “anti-democratic” constitution.
The Constitution is influenced by a Christian conservative vision in some of its provisions, such as the idea that the new born child is a human being since conception, and that abortion is a homicide, or that the family can be conceived only as the reunion of a man and a woman.
These constitutional provisions are nothing less than the Christian teaching itself in the matters, regardless of the Christian denomination the people may belong. They also represent guidelines for all the pro-vita and anti-abortion movements all over the world as well as for traditional Christians, which deny the right of the people of homosexual orientation to get married and adopt children.
The Hungarian Constitution is the first one in the European Union to express these ideas so bluntly, a move which can bring Orban huge approval of traditional Christians all over European Union, although for the moment it has also brought him hard criticism, given that the reproductive rights and the sexual inclusion are ideas the European Union leaders and most of the European citizens hold very dear (even some of those who consider themselves Christian people).
The preamble of the Hungarian Constitution begins with the first line of the Hungarian national anthem, Isten, áldd meg a Magyart (God bless the Hungarians), words that also drew a lot of criticism from the European leaders, which advocate the laity of the state. What is curious about it is that the words never disturbed anybody when chanted in the anthem (which in itself is a church prayer), but became very disturbing when put in the constitution.
Another provision that was very hard criticized was the reference to the Christian cultural heritage of Hungary. In other words, Orban put in his Constitution what the Pope in Rome (the former pope in Rome) had demanded of the European bureaucrats: to acknowledge the Christian heritage of Europe. The pope failed in his attempt, and so did all the Christian politicians who demanded the same thing.
The Constitution refers to the heritage of the Hungarian Holy Crown, and to the fact that its coming into force means a bridge that resumes the connection with a past that was severed by the Communist occupation.
By it, Orban and his FIDESZ party want to turn the page on this period of history, without forgetting to remember that the crimes committed against the people during the Communist regime, and especially during the Revolution in 1956, do not benefit the statute of limitations and are punishable according to law.
One of the most controversial provisions of the new constitution is the constant reference to the Carpathian Basin and to the Hungarian inhabitants there, which determined the neighboring countries to think that Orban drafted a Constitution of the Apostolic Kingdom of Hungary, a claim sustained also by the fact that the reference to the republic has been struck out of the new Constitution, as the country is no longer called “Hungarian Republic,” but simply “Hungary.”
Last year, US State Secretary demanded Orban to commit himself to freedom of press, to independence of justice and to transparency of the government. The American concerns are based on the constitutional provisions related to restricting the freedom of expression.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barrosso wrote to the Hungarian Prime Minister in December requesting of him to renounced the recent bills referring to financial stability and the central bank. Orban rejected the request of the European leader. Hungary is among the countries that rejected the Sarkozy-Merkel plan to capitalize the central bank of Europe as means to save the eurozone.
Orban’s constitution is considered by some analysts a product of a populist government. Criminalizing homelessness, the possibility of life imprisonment without parole or the failure to prevent discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation are some of the constitutional provisions that are sure to make Orban an outcast of European politics.
The possibility of amending the constitution is remote since it was accepted by a two third majority in the parliament, and it is very much unlikely that the majority could change so radical so that the opposition may have two thirds itself.11