An interesting thread by Garvan Walshe on why Hungary enacting its Enabling Act during the coronavirus crisis is a serious miscalculation by the country’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.
First published in March 2020.
Hungary’s Enabling Act is a grave miscalculation by Viktor Orbán.
Viktor Orbán, who has used a state of exception to assume dictatorial powers, is much admired in the White House. https://t.co/QVeinJExf5— Timothy Snyder (@TimothyDSnyder) March 30, 2020
First, it removes the disguise from a disguised regime.
As International Relations and Policy Analyst Daniel Hegedus put it – Hungary is now an autocracy without adjectives.
Second, it refutes Orbán’s own legitimation narrative.
His rule was supposed to depend on electoral legitimacy: this law allows him to rule indefinitely without them.
Third, it makes it impossible for his friends to hide.
Leaving out a sunset clause, it turns necessary emergency legislation into Hitlerian parliamentary tactic.
Orbán Uses Coronavirus to Put Hungary’s Democracy in a State of Danger. / The German Marshall Fund of the United States
Fourth, it will galvanize the opposition.
Once the epidemic is over (and given the state of Hungary’s health system it will be felt badly there) they will come out on the streets demanding the restoration of democracy.
Fifth, it splits Hungary and Poland.
Poland is trying to have a presidential election in the middle of an epidemic. Hungary is trying permanent rule by decree.
Viktor Orbán. / Kremlin
Once the epidemic is over, these wide ranging powers will come within the purview of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Until now Viktor Orbán has proceeded slowly, by salami tactics. This has allowed him to maintain domestic as well as international support.
This uncharacteristic rush into the open has exposed his regime for all to see. It will be the beginning of his downfall.
It has even provoked a reaction from normally quiet President von der Leyen: measures “must not last indefinitely”, which is the specific problem with this enabling act.
Tweets posted on 30 March 2020 by @garvanwalshe.