Hungarian opposition MPs: The government wants to intimidate us

Speaker of the House László Kövér wants to punish 38 opposition MPs for committing an obstruction in an attempt to prevent the two-thirds pro-government majority from passing the so-called Slave Law on December 12, 2018. On February 7 the House Committee was unable to reach an agreement on exactly what punishment should be imposed on the opposition MPs. Furthermore, the meeting was chaired by Csaba Hende instead of László Kövér.

Talking to the media in a press conference after the meeting, Democratic Coalition MP Ágnes Vadai said she expected the Parliament to make a decision about the matter since the committee could not come to an agreement. Ms Vadai added that all opposition parties consider the sanctions unlawful both in terms of their purpose and extent, too. Politics Can Be Different, Jobbik, Dialogue, the Socialists and the Democratic Coalition all agreed that if any sanctions were adopted, they were going to appeal the relevant resolutions in all Hungarian and international forums. Politics Can Be Different’s Erzsébet Schmuck said: “The dignity of the House was not violated by us, it was violated by those who passed this law; they violated the dignity of the Hungarian people.”

Jobbik MP Koloman Brenner stated that his party rejected both the fact and the extent of the punishments. He specifically mentioned Péter Jakab’s outstandingly severe punishment for “daring to sit in His Majesty’s chair”. According to Mr Brenner, the government’s purpose with these sanctions is to intimidate the opposition representatives even more. Socialist MP Tamás Harangozó said that any sanctioning of the opposition’s political acts was ridiculous as long as it came from Fidesz, which dismantled a police cordon and used all kinds of obstruction back at the time when it was in opposition.

The other item on the agenda of the House Committee meeting was the violation of the MPs’ parliamentary immunity, which took place in the Hungarian Public Television headquarters in December. The Fidesz majority of the Committee decided not to address the second item on the agenda. Talking about the events taking place at the Hungarian Public Television headquarters, Koloman Brenner said: “these events demonstrated how opposition MPs were deprived of their status as public officials since it was the security guards of Fidesz’ private army who attacked them, regardless of what is written in the law”. Concluding the press conference, Tamás Harangozó noted that the Hungary’s Public Prosecution Service kept assisting the constant violation of rights.


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