Fidesz, the current ruling party of the Hungarian party, claims that it is “unnecessary” to hold a national referendum to replace its current constitution with a radically new one, “saying its sweeping election victory last year gave it the political mandate to adopt it without asking voters again.” Really?
(Imagine the US Republicans deciding they have the right to act on their desire to repeal the 14th Amendment without any national referendum because they did so well during the last election cycle. How would that go over? Can anyone say: Wisconsin?)
So, to avoid any further PR kerfuffles (like the one they went through when enacting the democracy-killing new media law on the day they took over the E.U. presidency), the Hungarian government, in all its wisdom, is seeking out public opinion….via a meaningless multiple-choice questionnaire!
“Fidesz will in the coming days send the questions below to all eight million Hungarian voters, with multiple choice answer options that haven’t been provided yet. Voters will be able to express opinions at the end of the questionnaire. No postage will be required to send the questionnaire back to the National Consultation Board.”
Margit Feher offers an incisive analysis of this questionnaire in the Wall Street Journal blogs. Here are some of our favorites, quoted from the blog:
Should the new constitution only declare civic rights or should it also declare the obligations of citizens? (Fidesz hasn’t specified what obligations it has in mind.)
Should the new constitution bring under its protection common values such as family, labor, home, order and health? (No clarification is given as to definitions of those values and how they should be protected.)
Should the new constitution grant voting rights to the parent of a minor on behalf of his/her child? (The National Consultation Board wants to launch a public debate on whether parents should be given an extra vote in the name of their children, and if each child in the family should bring one extra vote or if just one additional vote should be given to the family, regardless of how many children it has.)
Should the new constitution express national togetherness with Hungarians living beyond our borders? (There are a conservatively estimated 2.59 million ethnic Hungarians living in neighboring Slovakia, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine, Austria, Croatia and Slovenia. Ancestors of many of them found themselves outside Hungary when the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy collapsed after World War I and borders shifted in 1920.)
These are just some highlights. Be sure to read the whole blog and share your comments with us below. We’d love to read your comments!