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By creating the Basic Law of Hungary, ‘rule of law’ becomes one of the most frequently used expressions in the Hungarian constitutional law. That is why this paper puts the focus on analyzing the achievements of the ‘rule of law revolution’ and at the same times the role of the Hungarian Constitutional Court in this process.Theories criticising the current Hungarian routine of the ‘rule of law’ are also taken into consideration. According to the title of this paper rule of law, division of powers and constitutionalism are shown on legal and political background. In this aspect the essay also pay attention to the activism and role of the Hungarian Constitutional Court by analyzing its related decisions. Since 1990 (establishment of the Court) the Constitutional Court was the flagship of the Hungarian legal constitutionalism by enforcing the conception of ‘rule of law’ in its decisions. As the integral part of ‘rule of law’ the principle of ‘division of powers’ was affirmed in the decisions of the Court, though it was not defined in the Constitution. The Hungarian Constitutional Court on the basis of their decisions followed the traditional idea of the ‘division of powers’, at the same time the latest trend-according to more and more branches of powers are discovered-was not accepted.According to this paper it is an intriguing task to find the solution for the conflict between political and legal constitutionalism after 2010. The Hungarian Constitutional Court played unique role in it by deciding the referred cases.The paper tries to dissolve the main constitutional conflict in the system of separation of powers by the interpretation of the fourth amendment of the Basic Law. The principle of ‘rule of law’ was established in a constitutional frame, in which the Constitutional Court is able to review the amendments from procedural point of view. The focus is also put on the future of the principle of ‘rule of law’, in this matter the Constitutional Court has special responsibility, and constitutional obligation to rule on the constitutionality of the cases brought before.

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A válságok hatása a politikai rendszerekre

The impact of crisis on political systems

Scientia et Securitas
István Stumpf

Összefoglaló. A második világháborút követően talán nem volt egyetlen esemény sem, amely olyan hatást gyakorolt a világ országaira, mint a koronavírus-járvány kirobbanása. A vírus-válság felgyorsította a liberális világrend erózióját, kiélezte a nagyhatalmak közötti ellentéteket, válságforgatókönyvek és prognózisok készültek. A válság rávilágított arra is, hogy kudarcra vannak ítélve azok a kormányzatok, amelyek nem ruháztak be a közösségi infrastruktúrába, és elhanyagolták a közszolgálati tudást. Az is kiderült, hogy a kormányzati intézményeknek szakértőkre és nem lojális mamelukokra van szüksége a válsághelyzetből fakadó közpolitikai gondok megoldása során. Egy világméretű és példátlan sebességgel terjedő válság elleni eredményes fellépés elsődleges frontvonala tehát a nemzetállam maradt.

Summary. In times of crisis, all political systems give the executive exceptional powers, as it is not possible to face new and rapidly changing challenges within the framework of existing laws. One of the American founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton, who feared the excessive power of central government, believed that in times of emergency the system of checks and balances should be suspended. Constitutional democracy will be threatened if the rule of law is not restored after the emergency has passed.

Perhaps no event since the Second World War has had such an impact on the countries of the world as the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic. The virus crisis accelerated the erosion of the liberal world order, sharpened the antagonism between the great powers, especially the US and China, and highlighted the vulnerability of the production chains that had been outsourced to the Far East in the hope of cheap labour. Crisis scenarios and forecasts were drawn up, and prominent scientists and researchers expressed the view that there would be no return to the world before the virus. The virus crisis has also highlighted the failure of governments that have not invested in community infrastructure and have neglected public knowledge. It has also shown that government institutions need experts, not loyal mamelukes, to solve public policy problems arising from the crisis.

The coronavirus is the most pressing challenge of this century so far, and in responding to it, localism is being valorised as a crucial centre of solidarity and problem-solving. Forecasters fear that rising inequalities and the erosion of family savings could trigger a wave of political discontent that is more angry and violent than ever before. The majority of people will not be able to manage their children’s digital education and work from home without a separate room and computing infrastructure, so governments will need to develop special programmes to address this, and people’s health and the capacity of public health to cope will come to the fore.

The pandemic crisis has provided a new argument for those who argued for the reinvention of the state and the importance of governments’ ability to act quickly to deal effectively with natural and economic crises. In recent decades, many have buried the nation state, arguing that successful responses to global problems in a globalised world cannot be found within the framework of a nation state. The Covid-19 crisis has shown that the nation state remains the first front line for effective action against a crisis that is spreading at an unprecedented global scale and speed. Different countries have followed different crisis management strategies and very significant differences in contagion rates have emerged. The crisis has reassessed the role of nation states and borders, which already played an important role in receiving migration flows.

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Challenges caused by the global economic crisis in connection with the structural, political changes transformed the construction, the nature, and the operation of the executive branch. During the last decades in the separation of powers’ system the state had been rediscovered and governmental power had been appreciated.

In a world covered with the internet, financial, economic and political crisis situations appeared; governments and governmental centres had to give sufficient answers to global challenges. The world under the pressure of the media changed the daily routine of the governmental work: beside the good decision-making, carrying the governments’ point across parliaments and public opinion too became increasingly significant. Strengthening the symbiosis between the legislative and executive branch in parliamentary governmental systems can be observed. Members of the governing party attending the rigorous party discipline are decreasingly able to function as democratic control. These members rather become patronisers (‘voting machines’) of the governmental intention without critical voices. The personality of the politicians coming to the front and the marketability of the politics in the media also strengthened the process which resulted in the intensity of the Prime Minister’s role within the executive branch. Increasing the role of the Prime Minister and governmental central bodies lead to the weakening of the government’s corporative character, and the government’s gaining ground opposed to the Parliament. According to international examples in significant western European parliamentary democracies (for example: United Kingdom: Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair, Italy: Silvio Berlusconi, Sweden: Göran Persson) the role of the Prime Minister (as the head of the government) also appreciably strengthened. Beside this attitude, the outsourcing of each governmental function (good governance), the sufficiency of state’s strengthening (good government), and making governmental public services available electronically (e-government) are also under hard discussion.

The aim of this paper is to review — based on new constitutional and other changes of public law — the centralization of the head of the Hungarian government; the strengthening of the ‘chancellor-principle’ by the Hungarian Fundamental Law; and the process that lead to the Prime Minister’s Office becoming ‘top chancery’. The paper takes into consideration the transformation of the separation of powers’ system and the strengthening of the Prime Minister’s role within the executive branch and its affect on the Hungarian administrative system.

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