Wed Apr 1st, 2020 at 03:19:55 AM EST
Hungary has been a virtual dictatorship for a decade now, as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has gradually eroded its democracy. But now, its official, with the passage of an indefinite emergency law allowing rule by decree:
Hungary's parliament has passed a new set of coronavirus measures that includes jail terms for spreading misinformation and gives no clear time limit to a state of emergency that allows the nationalist prime minister, Viktor Orbán, to rule by decree.
Parliament voted by 137 to 53 to pass the measures on Monday afternoon, with the two-thirds majority enjoyed by Orbán's Fidesz party enough to push them through in spite of opposition from other parties, which had demanded a time limit or sunset clause on the legislation.
The bill introduces jail terms of up to five years for intentionally spreading misinformation that hinders the government response to the pandemic, leading to fears that it could be used to censor or self-censor criticism of the government response.
No parliament, no elections, no oversight, and no criticism. There are obvious parallels with the Enabling Act of 1933 - except that that law had a sunset clause, and German MPs had to go through the charade of renewing it twice. There are no such limits on Hungary's dictatorship. Will the EU permit this? Unfortunately, its permitted everything else: the suppression of the opposition and the media, the attacks on judicial independence, the establishment of concentration camps for refugees. But if the EU will permit one of its members to become a dictatorship, then what is the point of it?