Reinventing Hungary with Revolutionary Fervor: The Declaration of National Cooperation as a Reader’s Guide to the Fundamental Law of 2011

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Author: Renáta Uitz

DOI: 10.21128/1812-7126-2019-1-42-60

Keywords: advisory referendum; constitutional reforms; illiberal democracy; national cooperation; traditionalism


This article provides a critical analysis of several aspects of constitutional development in Hungary since 2010. In that period of time, the new constitution of the country, called the Fundamental (Basic) Law, was worked out and adopted. This act is a flexible constitution: it can be amended by a majority of two thirds of members of the Hungarian parliament. In combination with the fact that the ruling coalition led by Fidesz has had a necessary majority during two of the last three legislatures, this has allowed for a repeated amending of the young constitution. The cause for this phenomenon is rooted in the specific style of shaping the legal framework, implying that steps and ideas intended by the political program of the government led by prime minister Viktor Orbán are to be written down precisely in the rules of the constitution and parliamentary laws. The outline of this program is provided by the so called Declaration of National Cooperation, whose use helps us to better understand the design as well as the substance of the constitutional changes. Both the government and observers, including those that are critically minded, use the term “revolution” in order to describe the current changes, though with a slightly different meaning. However, all actors share the opinion of the far-reaching character of the current transformation taken by its absolute value. Among particular subjects, covered in the article, the so called National Consultation, a kind of advisory referendum, deserves special attention. The author of the article considers this institute critically as a method merely to create a legitimating background for governmental reforms and not connected with an intent to explore the real will of the people.

About the author: Renáta Uitz – Professor, Chair of the Comparative Constitutional Law Program, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary.

Citation: Uitz R. (2019) Izobretenie novoy Vengrii v pylu revolyutsii: Deklaratsiya natsional’nogo sotrudnichestva kak rukovodstvo dlya chitatelya po Osnovnomu zakonu 2011 goda [Reinventing Hungary with Revolutionary Fervor: The Declaration of National Cooperation as a Reader’s Guide to the Fundamental Law of 2011]. Sravnitel'noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, vol. 28, no. 1, pp.42–60. (In Russian).


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