“Hungary is a parliamentary republic with a head of government – the prime minister – who exercises executive power and a head of state – the president – whose primary responsibilities are representative. Hungary is divided into 19 counties, Budapest, and 23 cities with county-level authority.”
Source: European Commission. Hungary. European Commission, Directorate-General for Communication. Last accessed October 30, 2023.
“According to its constitution, Hungary is a multiparty parliamentary democracy. The unicameral National Assembly (parliament) exercises legislative authority. For the past three years, however, Hungary has been operating under consecutive states of emergency that allow the government to pass laws by edict, bypassing parliament, which elects the president (the head of state) every five years. The president appoints a prime minister from the majority party or coalition in parliament following national elections every four years. In parliamentary elections on April 3, the Fidesz-Christian Democratic People’s Party alliance led by Fidesz party leader Viktor Orban won a two-thirds majority in parliament. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe election observation mission found that the elections “were well-administered and professionally managed but marred by the absence of a level playing field” and concluded that a “pervasive overlap between the ruling coalition and the government blurred the line between the state and party.” Orban has been prime minister since 2010.
“The National Police Headquarters, under the direction of the minister of interior, is responsible for maintaining order nationwide. The Counterterrorism Center is responsible for protecting the president and the prime minister and for preventing, uncovering, and detecting terrorist acts; it is directly subordinate to the minister of interior. The Hungarian Defense Forces are subordinate to the Ministry of Defense and are responsible for external security as well as aspects of domestic security and disaster response. Since 2015, under a declared state of emergency prompted by mass migration, defense forces may assist law enforcement forces in border protection and handling mass migration situations. In September the migration-related state of emergency was renewed for an additional six months. A constitutional amendment from May introducing a state of emergency due to Russia’s war against neighboring Ukraine granted the government the power to rule by decree through November, which was later extended until May 31, 2023. Civilian authorities maintained effective control over the security forces. There were no reports that members of the security forces committed systematic abuses, although there were credible reports that security forces assigned to the southern border abused migrants attempting to enter the country.
“Significant human rights issues included credible reports of: actions that aimed to interfere with or diminish the independence of the judiciary; serious restrictions on freedom of expression and media, including censorship and content restrictions at the public service media broadcaster; political intimidation of and legal restrictions on civil society organizations, as well as criminal and financial penalties for migration-related work of nongovernmental organizations; exposure of asylum seekers to risk of refoulement; corrupt use of state power to grant privileges to certain economic actors; and threats of violence and harassment by extremists targeting Roma and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex persons.
“While the government took some steps to identify, investigate, prosecute, and punish officials who committed human rights abuses, action against high-level, politically connected corruption was limited.”
Source: United States Department of State. 2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Hungary. Washington, DC: State Dept. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. Last accessed October 30, 2023.
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Page last updated October 30, 2023 by Doug McVay, Editor.