Portrait of an abusive relationship — Orbán government indicted for its rule of law violations

Background

Each year, Canada’s Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences – comprising a wide range of academic associations in the humanities and the social sciences – gathers in a different Canadian city, to discuss developments in their areas of expertise. Organizers accept papers from specialists within their academic association to present research under the aegis of the Congress. This year’s Congress took place at Ryerson University in Toronto, from May 27 to June the 2nd. Seventy different scholarly organizations participated at this year’s event.  HFP contributor Dr. András B. Göllner, a political economist at Montreal’s Concordia University and an expert on contemporary political developments in Hungary, presented the results of his research to the joint conference of The Association of Hungarian Educators of America and The Hungarian Studies Association of Canada. We can report that Dr. Göllner’s talk resulted in a truly engaging discussion and attracted a large audience. The following is a summary of Dr. Göllner’s presentation to this gathering. The Hungarian Free Press is very pleased to reproduce here the text of Dr. Göllner’s talk.

***

Dr. András Göllner in Toronto (May 2017)

Dear colleagues:

It’s truly a great pleasure and honour to see so many of you here today. This is the last presentation in our three day program. I, along with some others, and not necessarily for the same reasons, had expected that by now, most of you would be well on your way to your homes in various parts of the world after three days of deliberations. I’d like to compensate you all for your admirable perseverance by presenting you with some thoughts that may challenge your curiosity, and provide some intellectual comfort for sticking around to the bitter end.

My thesis

The thesis of my talk is straight forward. The Orbán government, which has been elected to office in Hungary in 2010, uses the instrument of „Parliamentary Sovereignty” to abuse the „Rule of Law.” I argue that it manages to get away with this abuse for the following reasons:

  1. Each of the „partners” in this relationship – the Rule of Law and Parliamentary Sovereignty – suffer from a „personality disorder. They possess multiple identities. It is these character flaws that stand as the primary sources of the abuse.
  2. These original character flaws are purposefully exaggerated or kept alive by the Hungarian leadership, as instrument for generating personal profit, and expanding income inequality. The Hungarian Predatory State is kept alive via the parliamentary abuse of the rule of law.
  3. Hungarian political culture, cultivated by successive political elites, (domestic and externally imposed) has been historically tolerant of Rule of Law abuses. Domestic civil and political resistance to abuse is weak.
  4. International (EU, UN) enforcement of common standards regarding the Rule of Law, and Parliamentary Sovereignty is difficult to implement, especially if some political leaders and key opinion leaders in the international arena are actively promoting the Orbán regime as a role model for Western democracies. International enforcement is even more difficult in Hungary’s case, because the Orbán regime is handsomely compensated as a surrogate inside the Western Alliance, on behalf of the most powerful international Rule of Law abusers, such as Russia, and China.
  5. The Orbán government utilizes a highly effective communications strategy to hinder the domestic and international detection of its abusive behavior. It uses an affinity fraud, to fly under the radar built and operated by members of the Western alliance. It cultivates supportive agents from all walks of life to perpetuate the fraud. I include among the solicited supporters some members of the so-called „learned societies” such as the two associations that are hosting my talk here today. (This gathering of the AHEA and the HSAC for example is sponsored by The Hungarian Initiatives Foundation, which is one of the Orbán government’s lobby arms in the USA. The two associations’ opening cocktail party was sponsored by the Rule of Law violator’s local representative in Canada.)

The Methodology that sustains the thesis

What methods did I use to produce these conclusions? Are they perhaps the results of Marxist ideology, hearsay, perhaps liberal or partisan political bias? Can I vouch that my research methods, if applied under carefully monitored laboratory conditions will reproduce the results that I’m revealing to you today?

Given the time limit before us, my answer to these very legitimate questions has to be brief. I will be happy to discuss them in more detail during the Q and A. The methodology used in this investigation is rooted in conventionally accepted principles of rationalism and empiricism. The approach is NOT based on Marxist theory. It is compatible with Western Democratic Theory, Liberal as well as Conservative principles of Justice and Constitutionalism. The principles I follow were laid down for Western civilization, and it’s social sciences, first and foremost, by such thinkers as Aristotle, Locke, Kant, de Tocqueville, Rawls, Habermas, and Sen. In addition to following the generally accepted contemporary conventions of the Western Social Sciences, the approach I follow, bases itself on the principles enshrined in the universally accepted covenants of the two major international organizations that Hungary is a member of and that matters to us all – the United Nations and the European Union. There is no attempt on my part to apply standards to Hungary that the government of this country has not formally signed on to uphold.

Why Does the Rule of Law Matter?

The short answer to this question was given by John Locke, 330 years ago, in his unforgettable masterpiece, Two Treatises of Government: “Wherever law ends tyranny begins. ” But perhaps it’s better to listen to more contemporary voices, such as those, who are entrusted with the enforcement of the Treaty of Europe, and the values that lie at the core of Western Democratic societies. Here is the statement of the European Union on why observance of the Rule of Law matters.

The rule of law is the backbone of any modern constitutional democracy. Respect for the rule of law is a precondition for EU membership… Compliance with the rule of law is not only a prerequisite for the protection of all fundamental values listed in Article 2 TEU. It is also a prerequisite for upholding all rights and obligations deriving from the Treaties and from international law. The confidence of all EU citizens and national authorities in the legal systems of all other Member States is vital for the functioning of the whole EU as “an area of freedom, security and justice without internal frontiers”. (Source: The European Commission, March, 2014.)

If the Rule of Law matters so much, why is there so much controversy over its enforcement, why are there so many who can get away with breaking it? As I stated earlier, the primary reason for this paradoxical situation is that the Rule of Law has been able to exhibit a chameleon like behavior, not unlike those exhibited by those sub-atomic particles that are the building blocks of the Universe. The latter can appear as either a wave or a particle depending on how we look at them. The ability of the Rule of Law to exhibit multiple identities have lead some of our best legal minds to throw up their hands in frustration. Let me quote three of them:

“The Rule of Law may well have become just another one of those self-congratulatory theoretical devices that grace the public utterances of Anglo-American politicians. No intellectual effort need therefore be wasted on this bit of ruling class chatter” Prof. Judith Shklar, former President of the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy

„The Rule of Law has given rise to a rampant divergence of understanding, everyone is for it, but have contrasting convictions about what it is.” Prof. Brian Tamanaha, Washington University, School of Law.

„The term means little more than “Hooray for our side.”  Prof. Jeremy Weldron, NYU School of Law.

(For serious students of the subject, I recommend an excellent book written by the Lord Chief Justice of Great Britain, Tom Bingham. The Rule of Law. Penguin Books. London. 2010. The above quotations are taken from this book.)

If the identity of the Rule of Law is so hard to define what about the concept of Parliamentary Sovereignty? Perhaps here we have a less unstable, more composed character? Unfortunately, once we get past the rhetoric, we are confronted by the same dilemma as before. The identity of Parliamentary Sovereignty is perhaps more unstable, flawed, than the partner it was called upon to protect. A brief explanation is in order.

Parliamentary Sovereignty is a form of governance invented by the Greeks. Its weaknesses were thoroughly discussed by Plato and Aristotle. This governing instrument died in a rather ugly manner approximately 300 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. As a systemic idea for deciding who gets what, when and how in a community, it lay dormant for close to two millennia, and was only revived, like some ancient seedling, approximately 300 years ago.

The revival of this genetically flawed seed took two avenues – one was British, the other French. The British reengineered the seed using the fusion of power principle. Under Parliamentary Sovereignty, the legislators and members of the executive sit in one chamber (hence the fusion of power principle). Under Parliamentary Sovereignty, it’s not the courts, but Parliament that has the last word on any issue that’s of importance to a community. No one says this more clearly than the former Lord Chief Justice of Britain in that book I referred to earlier:  „There is no judicial body in the country by which the validity of an act of parliament could be questioned. An act of the legislature is superior in authority to any court of law… There is no recorded case in Britain, in which the courts without the authority of Parliament have invalidated or struck down a statute. ” (Ibid. p. 163)

The French saw things differently. They used the separation of power principle to reengineer the ancient, and genetically flawed Greek seedling. They invented checks and balances, sat the executive and the legislature into separate chambers, and gave the judiciary the last word on what constitutes the Rule of Law. America followed the French, as did most of continental Europe.  Hungary opted for the British model, fusing its executive and legislative branches, and giving the elected representatives of the people the last word on who gets what, when and how in their community. And herein lies the source of the abuse that the Lord Chief Justice alludes to in his own study. „There is a conflict between the two constitutional principles, the Sovereignty of Parliament and The Rule of Law.” (p. 161.)

What have Western democracies done recently to cope with the challenges facing the relationship between Parliamentary Sovereignty and the Rule of Law? What kind of genetic modification have they attempted to engineer on the seedling inherited from the Greeks, which even after our best efforts, continues to produce a bitter harvest in many parts of the world? There has been some remarkable progress to report on.

The Identity of the Rule of Law is no longer in question

During the last decade, the identity of the Rule of Law has been solidified, and should no longer elicit the kind of comments that Professor Weldon and others have made earlier. A global consensus has emerged about the four pillars of the Rule of Law, and I will summarize them here:

  1. Legal certainty, constitutionalism: Governmental authority is based on publicly disclosed laws that define the limits of governmental action. These laws cannot be changed arbitrarily, retroactively or in a one sided manner.
  2. Public scrutiny, justice: Government must guarantee and promote fearless, equal and informed participation for parliamentarians and civil society, in the scrutinization of policy-making and implementation. The State must protect and promote respect for the rational evaluation of competing validity claims in the political arena – free speech, free media, independent NGOs.
  3. Equality under the law: There can be no preferential treatment afforded to anyone in society under the law. No one can be above the law, not even the head of state, or members of the government.
  4. Judicial independence: The independence of the judiciary from government and political interference must be protected by law. Judges, prosecutors, lawyers and law enforcers must have no other master than the law and must be able to uphold and protect the “rule of law” without fear or favour by politicians.

These four principles are now accepted by the European Union as well. There is no longer any need for „covfefe” on this subject matter. Here is how the EU lays down the Rule of Law, based on the above mentioned four pillars:

„The precise content of the principles and standards stemming from the rule of law may vary at national level…. Those principles include legality, which implies a transparent, accountable, democratic and pluralistic process for enacting laws; legal certainty; prohibition of arbitrariness of the executive powers; independent and impartial courts; effective judicial review including respect for fundamental rights; and equality before the law… The rule of law is intrinsically linked to respect for democracy and for fundamental rights: there can be no democracy and respect for fundamental rights without respect for the rule of law and vice versa. Fundamental rights are effective only if they are justiciable. Democracy is protected if the fundamental role of the judiciary, including constitutional courts, can ensure freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and respect of the rules governing the political and electoral process.” 

Consensus on Parliamentary Sovereignty 

Like its partner, the Rule of Law, Parliamentary Sovereignty has also been the subject of considerable character building innovations of late, in order to cure it of its abusive predispositions.

The British designers of Parliamentary Sovereignty recognized, that if the decisions of their Sovereign Parliament become arbitrary, subject to executive fiat, if constitutional constraints on governmental power are weak, if the transparency of the legislative process and the ability of the public to scrutinize it are hindered,  and especially, if the ability to evaluate the validity claims of the competitors in the political arena, or the ability to organize alternative courses of action are limited, Parliamentary Sovereignty becomes not a guardian but an abuser of the Rule of Law. Under such circumstances, Parliamentary Sovereignty isn’t worth the paper it is written on. The British went to work, to correct the problem in order to enhance the public interest. (As I’ll show later, the Hungarian government went to work to exacerbate the problem in order to enhance their personal profit.)

The modifications that were introduced to Parliamentary Sovereignty to enhance its social responsibility are too numerous for itemization. As in the case of the Rule of Law, we can also speak of pillars that can be globally built on:

  1. Pro-active leadership is the key: Political leaders should alert their followers to the natural tendencies of this model to degenerate. They should follow the path of positive discrimination – serve as champions of communicative action – the drive to understand and to be understood. They should chart a political cultural agenda that rewards rather than scorns debate, discourse.  (Hyde Park corner rather than Tien Mien Square)
  2. Transparency/Scrutiny: There has to be an ongoing policy commitment to strengthening the mechanisms of scrutiny of the legislative process. Scrutiny, transparency, public access to fact based information on alternatives policy choices must be accessible rather than restricted. Parliamentary law and an active, well trained civil society are necessary adjuncts. Without TS, PS is BS.
  3. Fearless speech: Parliamentary commitment to a competitive political market, based on free speech and the freedom of the press. This freedom must be regulated and cannot be left in the hands of unregulated market forces or political monopoly. Civic education in rules of discourse, and responsible journalism. Governmental watch-dogs must be kept alive, off the leash, but well trained not to harm the collective good.
  4. Independent judiciary: Parliamentary Sovereignty by its nature requires a highly independent judiciary, politically neutral law enforcement. 

How Does Hungary Score?

As I summarized in my thesis, the abuse of the Rule of Law in Hungary is rampant. Instead of strengthening the three pillars above, Hungary has weakened each of them during the reign of Viktor Orbán. The objectively verifiable evidence for this is widespread. Hundreds of credible academics worldwide have reported on it along with, globally respected international organizations. Here is a quick rundown of the 10 most glaring cases of abuse since Orbán came to power:

  1. Leadership hostile to discursive political culture (Kötse). Orbán publicly embraces path of Rule of Law violators such as Russia, China, or Turkey. (Tusnádfürdő)
  2. Supermajority in Hungarian parliament restricts scrutinization of lawmaking. (Private member Bills, Emasculated Committees.)
  3. Transparency guarantees lowered by legislative action.
  4. Development of civil society hindered rather than promoted.
  5. Principal of equality before the law is regularly breached
  6. Checks and balances have been greatly weakened
  7. Judicial independence highly curtailed
  8. Free, competitive media has been destroyed
  9. The public service has been politicised, de-professionalized.
  10. Political competitiveness, like economic competitiveness has drastically fallen since 2010. (OSCE, OECD, World Trade Forum)

In a precedent setting vote on May 17, 2017, the European Parliament decided to initiate disciplinary measures against Hungary’s flagrant and repetitive abuse of the Rule of Law. The EU had not taken such a drastic step against any of its member states during its lifetime. The most relevant parts of this resolution to our discussion are these:

The European Parliament..

  1. Regrets that the Commission did not respond to Parliament’s call to activate its EU framework to strengthen the rule of law, as contained in its resolutions of 10 June 2015 and 16 December 2015 on the situation in Hungary, in order to prevent, an emerging systemic threat to the rule of law from escalating further;
  2. Takes the view that the current approach taken by the Commission focuses mainly on marginal, technical aspects of the legislation while ignoring the trends, patterns and combined effect of measures on the rule of law and fundamental rights;
  3. Believes that infringement proceedings, in particular, have failed in most cases to lead to real changes and to address the situation more broadly;
  4. Believes that the current situation in Hungary represents a clear risk of a serious breach of the values referred to in Article 2 of the TEU and warrants the launch of the Article 7(1) TEU procedure;
  5. Instructs its Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs therefore to initiate the proceedings and draw up a specific report with a view to holding a plenary vote on a reasoned proposal calling on the Council to act pursuant to Article 7(1) of the TEU, in accordance with Rule 83 of its Rules of Procedure;

Conclusions

Will the measures announced by the EU be sufficient to compel Mr. Orbán and the Hungarian government to end its abusive behavior? Very unlikely. The ability of the EU to enforce its standards is notoriously weak. Given the tenor of the current administration in the USA, Rule of Law advocates in Hungary have little to hope for from this quarter. Indeed, the new US Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, warmly applauds the conduct the European Parliament overwhelmingly dismissed in its May 17th resolution. Here is a brief quote from Sessions correspondence with Hungary’s former ambassador: „Hungary now serves as a global beacon for the power of freedom, democracy and human rights. Economic prosperity flows from democratic traditions, and Hungary is proof of this rule.” (Letter from Jeff Sessions to Réka Szemerkényi, former Ambassador of Hungary. September 20, 2016.) Jeff Sessions’ right hand man during the Trump campaign, J.D. Gordon issued a series of even stronger public endorsements on behalf of Donald Trump for Orbán, a man who by his actions and words, is increasingly seen as Putin’s “Trojan Horse” within the Western Alliance. (See: The Budapest Bridge, HFP) Donald Trump is well on his way to taking Orbán to his bosom. It appears, all he is waiting for is a lull in the slightly embarrassing chatter which suggests, that Orbán may have played an accommodating role in the Russian secret services efforts to influence the outcome of his race with Hillary Clinton.

If the abuse of the Rule of Law, which is spreading like a cancer from Hungary to other parts of Central Europe to be stopped, decisive steps must be taken by three sets of actors::

  1. Hungarian civil society/political elite: They must do a much better job organizing sustained pressure for change. Need to generate sustainable governing/policy alternatives, and a new political-cultural climate that „economizes” Rule of Law abuse, linking the issue to citizens’ pocket books. (Civic education, grass roots Party Organization, Resistance.)
  2. Hungarian diaspora leaders: Should work to unmask rather than sustain the „affinity fraud” perpetrated upon unsuspecting Western public opinion by Hungary’s lobby offensive and its politically subservient diplomatic class. Public whining rather than public wining!!!
  3. Western governments/alliances: Should enforce community standards rather than turn a blind eye to their violation. Act fairly, without discrimination. Jeff Sessions should be named and shamed as a supporter of Rule of Law violators. Since Hungary is the major violator within the Western alliance, it should be made an example of to deter future abusers. Rule of Law abuse is a communicable disease.

The prospects for a peaceful, orderly progress towards ending the abuse in Hungary are slim. Unless there is a shift in the pattern of behavior exhibited by each of the three constituents above, the cancer will spread. At this point, the chances of EU infringement procedures succeeding against Hungary are virtually zero. The chances of Hungarian diaspora leadership turning against Orbán publicly are also close to zero. The chances of Hungary’s political elite, or its civil society being able to engineer a peaceful end to the abuse are less than 20%. The chances of ordinary citizens taking the law into their own hands, to bring about regime change, via civil disobedience or even violence are 50-50.

There is no way of getting around it: Peaceful, orderly change requires a paradigm shift on the part of the key players listed above. The prospects for a mutually respectful relationship between the rule of law and parliamentary sovereignty requires that concerned citizens demand it vigorously, up to and including the use of civil disobedience. It requires, that political parties in Hungary organize themselves more effectively and be able to connect economic prosperity to respect for the rule of law. The spread of the cancer requires a targeted surgical procedure. The EU should hit the Hungarian regime where it’s most vulnerable. At its pocket book. It should immediately stop transferring billions of its taxpayer’s money into the hands of a regime that steals vast amounts of it, and uses the rest to undermine the community’s core values. There is no way around this: The European Union must enforce its directives and treaty terms upon non-compliant members before they undermine the integrity of the entire community.

 András Göllner

18 Comments

  1. Well, I am likely the first person who believes that Hungary’s National Anthem should be the old English tune; “The World Upside Down”
    ( “..where the grass eats the cows..”).

    Yet, I found no single case where the professor had listed what “law” is being violated by the Hungarian Parliament? Beside a list of allegations.

    As for the “sovereignty” of the Parliament, well, in the parliamentary system of governments, the greatest tool of that system is the right of any member to call for a “vote of NO confidence”. And when it is supported by the majority , the PM is out faster than the door shuts behind him.

    The so called ‘checks and balances’ is “balanced” by the very Parliament. But one may blame that system for that. The courts ,of cause, are also appointed by the Parliament. In case appointed by the President of the Republic, the Parliament does consent. But it’s the same. That’s the Parliamentary system. Period.

    So, the professor may not like the system of government. The question is, does their Constitution, pardon me, their “Alaptorveny” give them any such rights? If not, the problem lies there, in the Alaptorveny, that is indeed nothing but a collection of political propaganda slogans.
    It demonstrate even less sense than the old so called Bukharin Constitution.

    As for the “Rule of Law” violations can only be of not following the law, or the only other option is the over-use of legislation. That is far too many laws that may hinder, or burden the normal progress. But beside all the nonsense, one could ask; what is really new in Hungary?

    I am convinced that the good old saying by Jack Webb; “that only the names are changed to protect the guilty”, is sure true in Hungary.

  2. Here it is in Yahoo news this morning. The leader of Romania’s ruling party expressed that he has lost confidence in the government and prime minister. So, the vote of NO confidence is about to happen. While Romania is considered the “most corrupt government in Europe” they can do it. Just why can not the Hungarians ? Hm?

  3. Judy Young Drache says:

    Since I was unable to be present at Professor Gollner’s presentation at the recent annual conference of the Hungarian Studies Association of Canada (HSAC) at the Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences of Canada, I am pleased to have been able to read his paper here. I have one small correction to make: the conference was not sponsored by the Hungary Initiatives Foundation (HIF) – or any other organization except for a modest grant from the Canadian Federation for Humanities and Social Sciences which was used towards the travel costs of the keynote speaker, Prof Eva Kovacs of the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Four of the other Hungarian participants applied for as individuals and received travel grants from HIF to enable them to come from Hungary to take part in the conference which was held jointly with the American Hungarian Educators’ Association (AHEA). At the same time, HSAC appreciates the assistance of the Consulate General of Hungary in Toronto for facilitating the participation of Hungarian pianist and piano professor Judit Gabos in a joint recital of Hungarian and Canadian music by Prof Gabos and Ms Mary Kenedi, Canadian pianist – a conference event open to the public that was followed by a reception offered by the Consulate General.

  4. Dear Mr. Hungarian Not so Free Press;

    You have altered my comment!
    Even without contacting me, and absolutely without my knowledge and consent !
    That it now appears to express a totally different statement than I have posted.

    You have eliminated the very statement “that under a parlamentary system of government, the Parlament is the government, so the professor have trouble with the Parlament, need to change their Constitution, pardon me, the Alaptorveny”.

    You have blatantly violated not just my basic legal rite of free speech and expression, but also have grossly violated the very principle that you supposedly have been awarded to advance free expression and the free press.
    .
    The above quoted sentence was the key point of the statement !
    That alteration actually falsify my original statement.
    Just how ethical is that for any kind of press, even under dictatorial censorship like like North Korea, and alike do practice.

    In case you , or the professor disagree with any statements of any comments posted, you are as free to express your opinion the same way as any one, even one like me. Unless, you intetionally discriminate against me as a person.

    I may suggest you perhaps at least change the name of this so called Hungarian Free Press to a dictatorial press.

    • Hungarian Free Press says:

      Unfortunately, your comments require frequent corrections, because they are regularly ill-informed and factually incorrect. Sometimes you do have valid and/or insightful points, but these are lost due to the errors, both in terms of content and style. Your statement above, which I did in fact remove, is completely incorrect. Parliament and government are not synonymous. In fact, parliament is meant to keep the government of the day accountable and in check. This incorrect statement would have detracted from everything else in your comment. It does not serve you well, nor our publication.

    • HFP
      The comments of Bendeguz on the subject here are pretty nonsensical, untruthful and clearly apologetic towards Orbans quasi fascist regime.
      Notwithstanding Bendeguz’s pathetic claims for rights his beloved regime denies to others, changing a comment is improper for whatever reason. Delete the lot or even deny access instead.

  5. The Post-communist mafia state by B.Magyar or Kim Scheppele’s analysis of the Hungarian regime offer more details and many examples.
    The website 444 and Hungarian Spectrum reveal countless violations of the rule of law/the law by Orbán’s utterly corrupt regime.

  6. to OBSERVER’s remarks;

    Dear “Observer”;

    Hope you do the realize your act, and weight of your statement above, that you have made in my name.
    It is not just absolutely false, untrue and a blatant lie, but you have done it entirely on your own, it is unethical, improper and totally illegal.
    To make a statement that one alleges being someone else’s view or opinion is also very imoral, not jut where I am, but in Canada as well even it that place called Hungary, whatever system of government Observer may assume or prefer.

    I strongly resent your action, and your entire statement !

    If one can not understand ,or form an idea from my remark as of just why I feel that Hungary might need even to change their patriotic National Anthem to that named old British tune, I feel indeed sorry for you, or any one else who could not comprehend it.

    In my comments here, I do not aim to insult any individual, member of the Hungarian government , but I put my criticism on the entire nation and its population. It will not make the needed change, I realize, but hope that may wake up few who are able and willing to use their mind and start thinking realistically.
    Evidently, those might be very few among the readers of this Hungarian distorted Free Press.

    At least start learning what ‘Intellectual honesty’ mean, in practice !

  7. to OBSERVER’s second remark;

    Not that this “OBSERVER” hiding in total annonamity, as would not even use a ‘User name’ here, but the suggestion to “deny access instead” to this so called Free Press, instead of “changing a comment”.
    What a principle he/she live by ?
    Is just what he/she objects and charges the present Hungarian regime, without being able to realize that he/she is the one that desires HFP to do that very barbaric and fascistic act.

    OBSERVER wants HFP to do just what he allegedly opposed to and states that being done by the present Hungarian regime to the people of Hungary.
    Just wonder, how and why Observer is not seem to realize what he/she preaches in reality.
    What a 180 degree contradictory false as well a fake and phoney statement he/she made !

  8. Dear Hungarian Free Press;

    You insist that the Hungarian “Parlament and the government are not synonymous.”

    The fact is that the Parlament appoints and authorize the Prime mInister, his cabinet, elects the President of the Republic, approves the members of the Kuria and judges, the Parlament actually has the power and authority approve or deny acts of the PM and his cabinet, therefore it practices what can be considered and called “the government”, at least practices supreme authority.

    Having the power as you called it;
    “to keep the government of the day accountable and to keep check of it” is its ultimate power over what is commonly considered “the exceutive’ branch of the daily functional portion of the Parlament.

    Based on that fact, I dare to state that your statement is “ill-informed and factually incorrect”.
    When I stated that IF the professor had complaints about the Parlament, he needed to look for the alternatives in the Constitution, actually they call the “Alaptorveny” to make the basic desired and needed changes.

    That not just being a fact, but also the only legal way to do, and also a point that commenters (mostly on the KMH) have indicated as well.

    You can only assume, or imagine and not to know, what the readers will or may obtain from my comments. They should, hopefully be free to state.

  9. @ Judy Young Drache

    Nice to see that you are reading the Hungarian Free Press. Please join us more often here and speak up publicly against the affinity fraud pursued among others by Hungary’s diplomatic representatives to Canada.

    Regarding my comment about the sponsorship of the Orbán government’s lobby organization of the recent AHEA-HSAC congress. I find your objection surprising. The Presidents of BOTH bodies were in the room when I stated this. Neither one raised any objections, and I suppose it’s due to the fact that the information I gave then, and in the above article is taken not from my head, but from the back of the official program of the two Associations. I refused to avail myself of the generosity of the autocracy, and did not apply for a travel grant from the funds taken from Hungarian taxpayers to popularize the Hungarian Mafia State in the USA and Canada. I did not attend the cocktail party, or drink the wine, that was financed once again by those, who are destroying the rule of law in Hungary. I have chosen to publicly whine, rather than privately wine. 🙂

  10. @ Bendeguz79

    Please don’t be offended if I do not spend my time filling the formidable gaps in your mind, that’s due to your failure to follow world events. I simply do not have time to bring you up to speed, because you have neglected to keep in step with the advances of science. Before you wilt, I have a carrot for you to chew on. Why don’t you busy yourself with just one of the laws that is a classic example of the Orbán regime’s abuse of the Rule of Law? Hm? The law that singled out one University in Hungary – the CEU – for punitive action. Don’t take my word. Listen to László Sólyom, the former President of Hungary. He was put into that position by the Party of Viktor Orbán. He cannot be dismissed as a radical left wing, anti-Hungarian hot-head. Sólyom also served as an architect of the first post-Communist constitution, and as head of the first post-Communist Constitutional Court. He also happens to be the former head of Hungary’s Constitutional Court. He and some of Hungary’s still independent jurists have dismissed the Lex CEU as blatantly unconstitutional, and contrary to the Rule of Law. Here is a URL, where you can read about it in Hungarian. http://index.hu/belfold/2017/04/12/solyom_a_ceu-torveny_egyertelmuen_alkotmanyellenes/

    Mr. Belzebub ! Please try to do your own research, and come to see me in my office when you have made some progress. I’m sure many of the readers of this magazine share my desire to see you grow. 🙂

  11. Apologies to the careful readers who may have noticed that I repeated myself regarding Sólyom’s position as head of the CC. I was distracted by a fly. 🙂

  12. Response to A.B.Gollner’s statements;

    Glad to see that the professor at last gave an answer to Ms.Drache’s statements.
    Several of us have never received any answers to his allegations of that conspiracy “in the hills of Buda overlooking that bridge”, only accusations not on the questions or comments, but only false and slanderous accusations of personnal nature.
    Glad, he is polite toward Ms.Drache.

    Mr.Gollner stated, he;
    “…publicly whine rather than privately wine”.

    I must agree with that. He does that in his manners. But have not yet seen any single ,legally applicable, and logical suggestions to make the needed change of how Hungary is being governed today by the present regime, for the enbetterment of ALL residents of that country in a moral and desired manner.
    (I know ,I am a pain in the butt with my view, but whene a change is needed, it must be presented, advocated , not just “whine” about it.)

    He also stated that “did not apply for travel grants from the funds taken from the Hungarian taxpayers..”
    Ms. Drashe’s statement was; “… and received travel grants from HIF…”
    Mr. Gollner did NOT state if HE “received” such grant for his travel or not, only he did not request any, nor drank their wine “privately”.

    Perhaps other readers might like to see that simple matter stated clearly.
    Thank you.

  13. Love your comment Belzebub. You always manage to bring such a smile to my face. You are the voice of reason in a world that has gone to hell. Are you happy now ? 🙂

  14. Be..79

    I’m afraid I also don’t have the time (nor the wish) to improve anyone’s comprehension or formulation skills.
    Focus or desist.

  15. OBSERVER’s reamark;

    Oh ,really ?
    Than just why the hell you try to make any remark?
    Bet you could not tell !
    Perhaps, just make a great favour for all of us, just pull your lips over your head and swallow !

  16. I hate to appear like attempting to annoy HFP or the author of the article, namely Prof. Gollner.

    But I was eager to learn, as well have requested the professor to give some basic reference as of what Law, procedural rule, legal articles , case-laws of the EU has allegedly been violated by the present Hungarian government.

    On the record, Hungary is presently being charged of violating Article 7 of the Lisbon treaty, along with Poland and the Check republic.

    A “treaty” is not a Law. It may be altered, amended or even terminated. However, there is no record of any such action.

    But since the EU has NO Constitution ! There is NO authority, or basic legal ground of any mandate by the EU over any sovereign member nation.

    As of the so called “principles of democracy”, in this case, by unellected administrators, politicians about to pass judgment over democratically elected leader’s by their populations of the accused nations.

    It is a rational question as of what “principles” may be violated in the absence actual legal precedents.

    At least, Hungary’s jures-prudent goes back all the way to 1221, the Golden Bull. While it is no longer considered as the legal principle of the soverignty of the Hungarian state, yet its present Parlament and its selected government rests upon that very fact, instead of the King and nobles.

    I am also eagerly awaiting the details of that Trump-Putin conspiracy article by Mr.Gollner, that supposedly took place in the hills of Buda, under a Budapest bridge.

    I have assumed with certainty that there is no such evidence. But I do feel ,and would love to see the professor to give some explanation to save his credibility on that alleged article, also.
    Thank you in advance.

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