Monday (March 30th): Orbán takes control, full control

Viktor Orbán

Name? Viktor Orbán

Westphalian identity? Hungarian

Age? 56

Why is he in the news? Today Hungary’s parliament passed a law that lets Orbán rule Hungary by decree, without the parliament. Giving him almost unlimited power for an unlimited time. 

Why do we care? The state of emergency is nothing unusual in Europe. After the terrorist attacks of 2015 in Paris, France was in a state of emergency for two years. But, whether this was justified or not, it had to be extended by the parliament, always including a sunset clause. This is different, against the will of the opposition, the forces supporting Orbán did not include a sunset clause. It now entirely depends on Orbán whether and when he wants to stop ruling without a parliament.

Why should you care? Erosion of the division of power in wannabe democracies is nothing unusual. It happens on a daily basis, but this happening in Europe is new (unless you are Poland of course). 

Who else cares? The EU Commissioner for Justice- Didier Reynders, and his boss- Ursula von der Leyen. The decisive votes for von der Leyen to become President of the Commission came from the Fidesz party (Orbán’s party). The next 48 hours will witness either how the EU is going to respond to this law or if they are too busy participating in this viral challenge. 

Any further comments? It is not like our director Balder Hageraats have warned us in the past of leaders increasing their power under times such as these…

Joshua Dario Hasenstab

General Coordinator