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Hungary Adopts Controversial Monetary, Religion Laws

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's center-right Fidesz party holds a two-thirds majority in parliament.Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's center-right Fidesz party holds a two-thirds majority in parliament.
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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's center-right Fidesz party holds a two-thirds majority in parliament.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's center-right Fidesz party holds a two-thirds majority in parliament.
Hungary's parliament has adopted a law that critics say could undermine the independence of its central bank.

The measure, which increases government influence over monetary policy, prompted the European Union and International Monetary Fund (IMF) to walk out of talks earlier this month on a possible bailout for Hungary worth between 15 billion and 20 billion euros ($20 billion-$25 billion).

Lawmakers passed other measures that threaten to leave the country isolated, including a law on religion that lowers the number of recognized religions in Hungary to 14 from more than 300.

These include the Catholic, Reformed, Evangelical, and Orthodox Churches as well as Judaism.

Faiths not included in the bill -- including all Islamic, Buddhist, and Hindu congregations -- will have the opportunity to apply for recognition in parliament if they have been operating for at least 20 years in the country.

But they will need to obtain approval from at least two-thirds of MPs for the recognition in order to receive state subsidies.

A number of changes to regulations has triggered criticism at home and abroad about the threat to democracy in the former communist EU state where the center-right Fidesz party holds a two-thirds majority in parliament.

Many opposition deputies stayed away from the December 30 vote.

compiled from agency reports
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by: LC from: Philadelphia
December 30, 2011 20:44
These are very troubling times in Hungary.

RFE/RL should also be concerned with the draconian media law that was passed and the repression and manipulation of free media that is now going on because of it. Journalists from the state broadcaster are now on their 21st day of a hunger strike in front of the broadcaster (MTVA) headquarters. See here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-16354192 (BBC - "Hunger strikers defiant in Hungary media protest")
here: http://dissentmagazine.org/online.php?id=571 (Dissent magazine - "Hungarian Media Independence Under Attack")
and here: http://blogs.reuters.com/mirjam-donath/2011/12/29/how-long-can-a-hungarian-hunger-strike-go-on/ (Reuters -- "How long can a Hungarian hunger strike go on?")

by: andrei from: uio@mail.ru
December 31, 2011 00:19
The EU can't control it members and is heading for collapse. Orban is becoming Lukashenko Junior. Jobbik is a radical nationalist and now the second most popular party.

by: KJ from: Los Angeles
January 02, 2012 21:38
What in the world has happened to Hungary? The place was a shining beacon to the rest of the post-communist world and touted as one of the most democratic and successful in the years after the fall of the Soviet Union. This is truly disturbing and should be a wake up call not only to Hungarians but to people around the world who take democracy for granted.

by: Fred Suss from: Missouri USA
January 15, 2012 20:31
Viktor Orban is beginning to sound a lot like "His Serene Highness the Regent of the Kingdom of Hungary" Miklós Horthy evolving into Ferenc Szálasi. Here we go, AGAIN So much for social, political, and economoic progress in Hungary !

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