March 4, 2011
József Szájer, MEP and founding member for Fidesz, the Hungarian governing party that has secured a two-thirds supermajority with 53% of the votes in 2010, boasts that the Hungarian constitution is written on iPad. Actually, on his iPad. Mr Szájer is a member of the European Parliament, and also the leader of the committee that drafts the Hungarian constitution. His bipartisan committee consists of the governing party Fidesz and its non-independent sister party KDNP.
Many foreign journalists did not understand why Hungary was not more careful with the staging of its rotating presidency. Obviously, they see Hungarian FM Martonyi in Brussels and other capitals, where he talks about the presidency. However, at home, he already claimed in December that the rotating presidency came for Hungary in the worst possible moment. The Hungarian government has higher priorities: to clear up the mess after the ousted Socialist governments, change Hungary’s polity permanently and produce a brand new constitution in the timeframe of the country’s presidency.
Mr Szájer wrote his blogpost on the day Steve Jobs unveiled iPad 2.0. Mr Szájer says that
“Steve Jobs surely will be happy if he learns that Hungary’s new constitutions is written on an iPad (in fact on my iPad). […] On a plane, on a train, in a car, during committee, presidency and party group meetings. For a representative always en route between Hungary, Belgium and France there is no more ideal tool. (Thanx Steve Jobs! God bless you! Get back to Apple, for the benefit of all of us! You are a genious!) […] As soon as textual proposal arrives from an advisor, and MP or a citizen, I can immediately insert it into the text and forward it for further commenting, no matter where I am. I surely could not do this without this device. […] We could say that this is a 21st century constitution written on a 21st century device”.
In Hungary, a simple two-thirds majority is enough to amend or write a constitution. In the country’s multiparty system no single party had such a majority before Fidesz-KDNP, and when a Socialist-Liberal government had the numbers, it made a law that it will amend the constitution only with four fifth of the vote. That act is not part of the constitution, so Mr Szájer’s part(ie)s can write a constitution alone, and also change the modification rules, so that a next parliament will not be able to modify it so easily. This is why the Socialists do not participate in the process and their ousted leader calls for an opposition of the new constitutional regime and not the government.
All in all, Hungary may have the first constitution in the 21st century produced on an iPad and at the same time the first endorsed by a single party. And that is why Hungarian’s are not so obsessed with the rotating presidency, the country is in a very deep change in the meantime.
Further links: József Szájer’s official page
More on EurActiv: George Schöpflin (Fidesz – EPP) this is Hungary’s real democratic revolution (see also interview), Miklós Haraszti (ALDE) about Hungary’s full-fledged illiberal democracy, Ágnes Heller (Greens) on criminalizing democratic transition. If you read Hungarian you can find on EurActiv.hu all these articles in Hungarian.
Author : EurActiv Hungary