By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News reporting from Budapest, Hungary
Viktor Orbán announced despite concerns among critics about his perceived autocratic nationalist style that has brought him on a collision course with the European Union.
The new state of emergency enables Orbán, who won a fourth consecutive term in an election last month, to govern by decree.
Shortly before the announcement, Orbán’s Fidesz party used its two-thirds parliamentary majority to amend the constitution to allow for the latest measure.
Hungary was already under a state of emergency because of COVID-19, but it was due to expire on May 31.
The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (TASZ) condemned the declaration, saying the state of emergency “has become permanent.”
The move gives Orbán “more leeway than usual,” allowing him to “restrict or simply suspend everybody’s fundamental rights,” TASZ warned.
However, Orbán, in power for 12 years, defended the state of emergency. “This war [in neighboring Ukraine] means a constant danger to Hungary,” the 59-year-old politician said.
The war and the sanctions imposed by the EU led to enormous economic turbulence and drastic price increases, he added, referring to Hungary’s yearly inflation of 9.5 percent. “The world is on the brink of an economic crisis. Hungary must stay outside of this war and protect the families’ material security,” Orbán added.
Orbán has so far refused to back a planned EU-wide oil embargo against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, citing Hungary’s heavy dependency on Russian energy.
However, the state of emergency, which began at midnight local time, enabled the government “to react with all available instruments to protect Hungary and Hungarian families,” Orbán added.
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