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 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.
Only about 16 months ago, the minority government led by Marjan Šarec and his liberal party LMŠ, which only held 43 of 90 seats in parliament, came to power. The center-left coalition consisted of the LMŠ, the Social Democrats, the liberal party SMC, the party of Alenka Bratušek (SAB) and the Pensioners’ Party.
PM Orbán has already met the Russian head of state seven times since the Ukrainian crisis began. The more Orbán foments the conflict with the EU, the greater the chance for Russia under Vladimir Putin to influence the diplomatic balance within the EU in his favor.