Hungary’s parliament handed Prime Minister Viktor Orban the right to rule by decree indefinitely, effectively putting the European Union democracy under his sole command for as long as he sees fit.
While governments around the world assume emergency powers to fight the coronavirus, locking down all aspects of every-day life and shutting borders, few democracies have given their governments such latitude without an end date.
Hungary’s ruling party lawmakers overrode the objections of the opposition in a vote on Monday, handing Orban the right to bypass the assembly on any law. The Constitutional Court, which Orban has stacked with loyalists, will be the main body capable of reviewing government actions.
“I don’t know of another democracy where the government has effectively asked for a free hand to do anything for however long,” said Renata Uitz, director of the comparative constitutional-law program at Central European University in Budapest.
Orban is dictator for life. He will never give those powers up willingly. He may be the first dictatorship to rise in the COVID-19 era, but I guarantee you he won't be the last fascist to take over this year. As I discussed before, the "soft fascism" of his regime is now a hard fact of life.