Hungarian opposition political groups protest draft constitution

14:53, April 17, 2011      

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Hungary's political opposition led tens of thousands of people in a demonstration at a public square near parliament on Saturday to protest against the draft constitution the government MPs, who hold a two-thirds majority in parliament, plan to vote into law next week.

The Hungarian Democratic Charta, an opposition organization initiated by former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany, a Socialist, spearheaded the protest, which was attended by a coalition of opposition parties including several voted out of parliament completely in last year's elections, and a crowd that packed into the square and several surrounding city blocks.

Gyurcsany said that his MSZP party, which was trounced in 2010 elections but still holds 58 seats in the 386-member parliament, was ready to receive the widest possible circle of supporters of democracy. He called for a "restoration of the republic."

Well-known Hungarian personalities called the constitution drafting process unacceptable, arguing that a two-thirds parliamentary majority was insufficient to adopt a constitution, which must reflect the opinion of the entire people. They warned that what they viewed as an autocratic power was weakening democratic rights, creating what sociologist and philosopher Ivan Vitanyi of MSZP called "unenlightened absolutism."

Media sociologist Maria Varsarhelyi charged the center-right Fidesz party, which holds the super-majority, of having become an enemy of democracy in the 20-some-odd years since state-socialism ended in Hungary. She said that almost all government decisions in the past 10 months had weakened rule of law and democratic institutions, and had intimidated working people.

Source: Xinhua
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