Hungarian Watch

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PEN American Center – Solidarity With Hungary Event in NYC on April 26th!

In Uncategorized on April 19, 2011 at 10:35 am

Gaspar Miklos Tamás, Hungarian political philosopher, one of featured guests at Solidarity with Hungary event

Exciting news! The PEN American Center will host a Solidarity with Hungary event featuring some of Hungary’s leading philosophers, artists and intellectuals in New York City.  (Additionally, Hungarian WATCH has been asked to participate!)

When: Tuesday, April 26
Where: Greenwich House Music School, Renee Weiler Concert Hall, 46 Barrow St., New York City
What time: 5 p.m.

With Kornél Mundruczó, Béla Pintér, G.M. Tamas, and others.
Moderated by Alisa Solomon.

Free and open to the public. No reservations required.

Co-presented by the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, CUNY Graduate School, and Center for International Theatre Development.  Supported by the Trust for Mutual Understanding


In the wake of sweeping “reforms” and crack-downs brought on by the last election in Hungary, the country’s artists, journalists, and intellectuals are facing a period of intense scrutiny and censorship. Contemporary political philosopher G.M Tamas, theater and film director Kornél Mundruczó, and playwright/actor/director Béla Pintér (via Skype) will discuss the current situation for the Hungarian creative community.

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Fidesz Muscles Through New Hungarian Constitution; Undermines Key Checks & Balances

In Uncategorized on April 19, 2011 at 9:58 am

By a vote of 262-to-44, the Hungarian Parliament (i.e., only the center-right Fidesz party with the insurmountable majority) muscled through a new Constitution on Monday that all opposition parties boycotted, and which the European Union and United Nations criticized as lacking sufficient checks and balances between the executive and legislative powers.

The primary Fidesz talking point seems to be:  “We are breaking from our Communist past!”

The Constitution served to repay “those Hungarians who changed the regime and the political players who took part in shaping political life,” [Janos Lazar, leader of Fidesz’s parliamentary faction] said. “We are trying to settle that debt.”

Hmmmm….  And how are they doing this?

  • “One of the most disputed provisions curbs the powers of the constitutional court on budget and tax matters and allows the president to dissolve Parliament if a budget is not approved.” (New York Times)
  • Judges forced to retire at 62 (instead of 70)
  • “Meanwhile, the number of constitutional court judges will be increased and their terms of office extended, potentially allowing the government to increase its influence over the judiciary.” (Financial Times)
  • “The constitution will also retain a decision made last year to strip the constitutional court of its power to rule on budgetary matters, unless public debt falls considerably.”  (Financial Times)

The contents of the new Constitution go into effect in January, 2012.

For more details, please go to:

  1. Hungarian Parliament Approves New Constitution by Judy Dempsey in The New York Times, April 18, 2011.
  2. Hungary Approves New Constitution by Chris Bryant in The Financial Times, April 17, 2011.
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