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Jagland urges Hungary to postpone constitutional amendments vote

Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland has today urged the Hungarian government and parliament to postpone next Monday’s vote on constitutional amendments.

He says the delay will give the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission, which provides expert advice to governments, time to examine the proposed changes.

“I am concerned about the compatibility of the constitutional amendments with the principle of the rule of law, as set out in the Statute of the Council of Europe,” he declared. “The Hungarian government is reintroducing the Transitional Provisions which were annulled by the Constitutional Court. This gives the impression that the government is willing to use the two-thirds parliamentary majority to overrule the Constitutional Court, which might endanger the fundamental principle of checks and balances in a democracy. This is an important and complex issue that has to be closely examined by experts. It would therefore be necessary to have an Opinion from the Venice Commission.

“Moreover, I am concerned that these comprehensive amendments are supposed to be adopted already next Monday. This leaves no room for consideration by experts or due process in Hungary.

“I therefore call upon the Hungarian government and the President of the parliament to postpone the adoption of the constitutional amendments in order to provide time for their consideration by the Venice Commission prior to their adoption. I am convinced that the Venice Commission will make an effort to look at this text as quickly as possible.”

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