Constitution – Socialists aim to change new supreme law

Budapest, April 25 (MTI) – Changing the new supreme law is a basic political aim of the main opposition Socialist party, chairman and group leader Attila Mesterhazy said on Monday.

President Pal Schmitt signed the new constitution on Monday “against many people’s request,” Mesterhazy said in a statement.

The main governing Fidesz party did not dare asking voters whether they wanted a new constitution and whether they wanted it this way because they number of dissatisfied voters is now higher than the number of supporters, he said.

“(Prime Minister) Viktor Orban has introduced measures that harm almost all groups of the society and most of which could be challenged on the basis of the current, democratic constitution,” Mesterhazy said.

It is necessary for the opposition to join forces in order to change the new constitution, Mesterhazy said. A democratic opposition must develop that can offer peace and a normal life to people after the downfall of Fidesz, he added.


President Schmitt signs new constitution – adds details

Budapest, April 25 (MTI) – President Pal Schmitt signed Hungary’s new constitution in a ceremony at his Sandor Palace office in Budapest on Easter Monday

“We have a new constitution that can be understood by all and it is at the same time Hungarian, national, modern and European,” Schmitt said after signing the supreme law.

“The freedom rights in the new supreme law are based on the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. This shows our dedication not only to our national self-identity but also to European democratic values,” the president. “The spring of 2011 has become an important event for the entire nation,” he added.

Schmitt expressed thanks to all those who participated in the preparation of the new supreme law.

He said that the constitution included “a summary of the main rules of coexistence in society, our rights and obligations and our nation’s faith, therefore it is a common matter for us all and represents a basis of our existence as a nation.”

People are most concerned whether the new basic law will effectively protect order, human dignity and the enforcement of rights, whether principles enshrined in it will consequently ensure jobs and safety for the family and whether they can plan their children’s future with optimism and can go about their own businesses in a public administration system and offices guided by good morals.

“In order to make sure that the answer is yes to all these questions, every individual’s work will be needed. Hungarians are equal not only before the law but also in defining the spirit of the law and executing it,” Schmitt said.

He added that the lives of Hungarians and of other nations living in Hungary are inseparable. “Everyone counts, we are strong together,” he added.

Hungary’s parliament approved the country’s new constitution on April 18, with 262 votes in favour, 44 against and one abstention.

The radical nationalist Jobbik voted against the supreme law while the Socialists and green party Politics Can Be Different boycotted the vote. Hungary’s new supreme law is to take effect on January 1, 2012. Celebrations marking the signing of the new constitution will take place throughout Hungary from 7pm on Monday.


Constitution – PM praises new supreme law as document of national revival

Budapest, April 23 (MTI) – Prime Minister Viktor Orban praised the new constitution, to be promulgated on Easter Monday, as the most important document for Hungary’s national revival, in an article published in national daily Magyar Nemzet on Saturday.

The prime minister called the removal of obstacles to revival as the most pressing common mission of all Hungarians. The constitution, he said, was the starting point of that mission.

The new constitution, approved by Parliament on April 18, is scheduled to be signed by President Pal Schmitt on Easter Monday. The basic law is to take effect on January 1, 2012.

The prime minister called the current supreme law, enacted in 1949 and totally revamped in 1989-1990, as a “constitution of fiascos”, one that failed to defend the nation from stockpiling huge external debts, from political lies, abuse of power, police brutality, economy decay, speculation, “offshore aristocrats”, criminals, extremist political groups and financial crisis.

The prime minister said the new constitution would restore the self-respect of Hungarians, give a boost to entrepreneurial spirit, intellectual energies and zeal to work, and encourage young people to have families and children.

“From now on, the country’s key economic interests, public security and the living conditions of families will be protected by the constitution,” said Orban.

In another development, the prime minister wished peaceful Easter holidays to the nation and welcomed the enactment of the constitution in a video message on Facebook.

Orban said the constitution would shield Hungarians from all ills “which they faced defencelessly during the past eight years”.


Hungarian church leaders celebrate Easter

Budapest, April 24 (MTI) – Leaders of Hungary’s main Christian churches celebrated Easter services on Easter Sunday, the holiday of the resurrection of Jesus.

Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Budapest-Esztergom, said at a holy mass in Esztergom Basilica that “if Jesus gave us his life, we too should live in similarly profound love and then all the seemingly unsurmountable difficulties surrounding us will get a new dimension and all problems that seem to be unresolvable can be resolved.”

Reformed Bishop Gusztav Bolcskei, who delivered a sermon in the Great Church of Debrecen (E), said that God had provided an alternative to what we are unable to: crime, death and passion.

“There are false alternatives even in our vicinity. It is not an alternative if those who are dissatisfied with something walk out of Parliament or go to Gyongyospata [the site of recent ethnic tension]. These acts recall the passions of Good Friday and fail to lead to light and a solution,” he said.

Lutheran Bishop Peter Gancs, meeting his community in Deak Square Church, Budapest, called Easter the time “God gave us to rejoice and then return to everyday life victoriously”.

“We are often unable to enjoy the gift of freedom; on the contrary, we abuse it selfishly, in a way that destroys others,” the Lutheran bishop said.


Roma women, children return to Gyongyospata

Budapest, April 24 (MTI) – Women and children of the Roma community in Gyongyospata, who left their north Hungarian village ahead of a planned paramilitary programme near their neighbourhood two days ago, returned home on Sunday afternoon.

The 267 women and minors were evacuated because their lives were in danger, Janos Farkas, deputy head of the national Roma Civil Rights Movement said on welcoming the group.

Farkas denied reports that the Roma had actually been on a pre-organised holiday. He said that a family had been attacked on April 16, during preparations for the paramilitary training camp arranged by Vedero (meaning defence force), a radical nationalist group.

Farkas also noted that the local mayor had resigned due to increasing tension and that his successor could be a nominee of the radical nationalist Jobbik party. Should that happen, the Roma will have “no place” in Gyongyospata and will likely seek asylum in the US, Canada or the UK, he added.

When the group arrived in Gyongyospata, a woman getting off a bus hit a non-Roma resident twice in the face. The elderly woman was taken to hospital, while the police detained the attacker.

On Friday, some 400 police arrived in Gyongyospata and cordoned off Vedero’s campsite and detained organisers of the paramilitary programme. The police also made sure that no participants could enter the adjacent Roma neighbourhood. The programme ended on Saturday, a day earlier than planned, after all participants had left Gyongyospata.