Hungarian president signs new constitution into law

08:32, April 26, 2011      

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Hungarian President Pal Schmitt signed a new constitution into law on Easter Monday, a date chosen for its religious significance.

In a televised speech during the signing ceremony, Schmitt said the new constitution was based on the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

Schmitt said the constitution belonged to all the people and was not the private affair of a few specialists. He said the measure was something that future generations could be proud of.

The new constitution has been criticized by many European countries as a step backward in civil rights, and people have been less pleased with curbs on the powers of the Constitutional Court and the requirement of a two-thirds majority to amend tax and pension laws.

The parliament approved the new draft despite protests from all opposition parties with 262 yes votes in the 386-seat body on April 18.

The opposition left-wing Socialists and green LMP party boycotted the vote, claiming that the measure reflected the Fidesz party's political will and disregarded popular opinion.

The new constitution will take effect on Jan. 1, 2012.

Source: Xinhua
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