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August 19, 2022



Hungary: Mass demonstrations, protesters say PM endangers the rule of law

17.12.2018 17:30
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (PHOTO: European People's Party - EPP,
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (PHOTO: European People's Party - EPP,

Massive protests are taking place in Hungary and the rule of law is said to be in danger there. Protests happened today for a third day in a row throughout Hungary against an amendment to the Labor Code that citizens there are calling "enslavement".

The amendment states that employees should annually work more than 400 hours of overtime instead of the previous limit of 250 hours. According to the Republikon Intézet press agency, the bylaw is rejected by 83 % of Hungarians.

Last week Parliament approved another very controversial law making it possible for the Justice Minister to appoint the presiding judges of administrative courts and to supervise their budgets. According to citizens and other critics, this move disrupts the separation of powers and undermines the principles of the rule of law.

The organizers of the protests want to express their disagreement with these current events associated with the Government of PM Viktor Orbán. The demonstrators mainly want to support the independence of the media and to reform the court system.

After the anti-Government demonstrations ended yesterday, many protesters marched on the state television headquarters. MPs from the opposition, 13 total, took advantage of their rights as legislators to enter the public broadcaster's building.

According to information from the MTI wire service, the MPs wanted to read a petition on air explaining the protesters' demands. The MPs spent the night in the building, but security guards did not make it possible for them to appear live on air.

Two MPs were forcibly ejected from the building before morning. Orbán, whose policies are being protested now, has governed Hungary for eight years.

The PM faces enormous criticism for attempting to subordinate the justice system to his own political needs. The European Parliament recently approved recommendations for the EU to begin proceedings against Budapest because of the serious danger these moves pose to the state.

Albín Balát, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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