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Thousands Protest New Hungary Law

Ex-Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany (right front) joined tens of thousands of demonstrators in front of the opera building in Budapest on January 2 to protest the recent legislative changes.
Ex-Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany (right front) joined tens of thousands of demonstrators in front of the opera building in Budapest on January 2 to protest the recent legislative changes.
Tens of thousands of Hungarians have protested in Budapest over a new constitution, accusing the ruling party of undermining democracy.

The January 2 protest came as Prime Minister Viktor Orban, of the ruling Fidesz party, and guests celebrated the new Basic Law at a gala at the State Opera.

Protesters denounced Orban for carrying out a power grab, calling the prime minister “Viktator” and accusing him of leading the European Union and NATO member toward dictatorship.

Critics say the new constitution, which went into force on January 1, and other actions by the government have eroded Hungary’s democratic system of checks and balances by increasing political control over the judiciary, central bank, religious groups, and the media.

Some of the moves have also been criticized by the United States, the European Union, and international rights watchdogs. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged a rethink and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in a letter asked Orban to withdraw two key bills.

Supporters of the government, which controls a two-thirds parliament majority, say the changes have improved the country’s legal framework in line with what they describe as Hungarian and European values.

"The main problem with the constitution is that it is destroying the constitutional order and the new Basic Law is basically a one-party basic law," trade union leader Kornel Arok said.

The legislative changes include changes in monetary policymaking that could endanger Hungary's talks with the EU and International Monetary Fund on a finance agreement to counter investor jitters.

Protesters accuse Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose Fidezs party's popularity has slipped below 20 percent, of undermining Hungarian democracy.Protesters accuse Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose Fidezs party's popularity has slipped below 20 percent, of undermining Hungarian democracy.
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Protesters accuse Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose Fidezs party's popularity has slipped below 20 percent, of undermining Hungarian democracy.
Protesters accuse Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose Fidezs party's popularity has slipped below 20 percent, of undermining Hungarian democracy.
Critics say the new laws curbs Constitutional Court powers in key matters like the budget, changes the electoral system in a way that favors Fidesz, and could erode the independence of the central bank. It also allows Fidesz appointees to control key public institutions well beyond the government's electoral term.

A new media law also drew strong criticism and journalist protests recently.

Opposition lawmakers were among those detained by police at a protest in December.

Fidesz's public support fell below 20 percent last month.

compiled from Reuters and other agency reports
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by: Laaz Molinari from: Budapest
January 03, 2012 05:13
I am not an Orban fan, but why do you need to lie? The crowd was of few hundreds, not tens of thousands...
In Response

by: Istvan Muller from: Budapest
January 03, 2012 10:11
The demonstration was held on Andrássy út (avenue), between Hajós utca (street) and Oktogon. The surface is cca. 15,000 square metres. If you count only 1 person per square metre, there were 15,000 (fifteen thousand) at least.

But this demonstration was not about the numbers of the attending crowd. It was organized against the one-party base-law that serves FIDESZ interests only. It looks, it wasn't that clear to you...

In Response

by: AnniePavel from: Budapest
January 03, 2012 10:17
@Laaz Molinari, you must be joking. I was there, believe me, tens of thousands is the right number.

And I have heard in the radio, that Radio Free Europe in Hungary is starting again. Is it true?
In Response

by: Magyar from: Budapest
January 03, 2012 17:08
There were only about 10 to 15 thousand tops. Left wing media is distorting the facts to server their gains. Business week Bloomberg have lied and said that their was about 100,000. Goes to show you that you should never trust the media.

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-01-03/hungary-opposition-groups-hold-joint-anti-government-protest.html

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
January 03, 2012 09:49
Greece, Portugal and Italy are going bankrupt, Spain has more than 20 per cent unemployment rate, Belgium has just taken more than 540 days after elections to form a govt, and in Hungary - after 20 years of happy democratic life and 8 years of EU-membership - Viktor Orban is intalling a dictatorship. Europe is really moving in the right direction in the new year 2012 :-).

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