The “Coronavirus Law” adopted by the Hungarian Parliament on March 30 did not only enable Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to govern by decree for an unlimited period of time, but also suspended elections and referendums. With the passing of the emergency law, the parliament had disempowered itself.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic has led to numerous legislative changes in countries around the world. However, some governments quickly recognized this as a unique opportunity for further concentration and consolidation of power.
In this year’s Nations in Transit by the Freedom House, Poland loses the status of a consolidated democracy. Other CEE countries also decline with their democracy score.
The regime change in the former Eastern Bloc may rarely be connected to one specific date. It is rather considered a process which took place between 1989 and 1990. Of course,there were several important events. But none of them could be identified solely as “the” one that signifies the change of a regime.
Whilst universities have always been in an advantageous situation because of digital tools and lessons available online, amd thanks to the fact that university students are used to digitalization, primary and secondary schools in Hungary are still in their infancy regarding digital education.
The increasingly autocratic tendencies observed in Poland and Hungary during the COVID-19 crisis have alarmed the EU. With street protests currently banned, human rights activists fear that the pandemic will be used by national conservative governments to consolidate their power and undermine democracy and human rights.
Typically, there exist two forms of anarchy. The ‘nation-state-anarchy’ and the ‘federal-movement-anarchy’. Together they pave the way for the arrival of a European strong man.
On March 30, 2020, the Hungarian Parliament passed the so-called “Enabling Act”. In the future, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will, therefore, be able to govern by decree without parliamentary approval. Despite the spread of the new coronavirus, this shouldn’t have happened.
Hungary is loth to leave its past behind, with radicals reemerging annually to celebrate the historic bloodshed of WW2. Athough the news was awash with the marching boots of neo-Nazis in Hungary, there is another story behind the black uniforms parading through the streets of Budapest.