Hungary votes yes over change to constitution despite human rights concerns


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The Independent Online

Hungary’s parliament today passed an amendment to the country’s constitution which critics say amounts to an attack on democracy, despite calls from Brussels to delay the vote.

The amendment effectively annuls all decisions made by Hungary’s Constitutional Court prior to January 2012, and will bring in measures such as a narrow definition of marriage as a heterosexual union, a ban on sleeping on the streets, and a ban on political campaign adverts on private media.

The European Union and the US had expressed concern about the vote and its impact on the independent judiciary, while the Council of Europe – an independent human rights body – called for a delay so legal experts could examine the amendments.

But members of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party were bullish, accusing countries of using the vote as a way to punish Hungary for making foreign power companies lower the prices they charge.

“We won’t allow either any international business lobby or the political forces that speak on their behalf to interfere with the decisions of the Hungarian parliament,” Antal Rogan said in a speech in the chamber.