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Petra Bard, Nora Chronowski, Zoltan Fleck: Inventing Constitutional Identity in Hungary

“Hungary's public law history has few elements that are compatible with modern constitutional values,” our Research Affiliate Petra Bard and co-authors Nora Chronowski and Zoltan Fleck write in their paper, published in MTA Law Working Papers.

“Constitutional traditions can play an important role in the identity of states. A modern version of social integration can be based on constitutional identity,” the authors argue.

Public law tradition in Hungary is “mostly one of affirming the prerogatives of the feudal estates rather than of parliamentarism and respect for individual rights,” they continue, adding that “after 2010, the ruling party made a sharp break with the ideals of regime change and declared a new beginning. To do so, it invented the Hungarian historical constitution and the doctrine of the Holy Crown, which originally aimed to restore the territorial unity of the country between the two world wars.”

“In addition to nationalist identification, this political and ideological turn was also a way of supporting the topos of the decline of the West and serving as a shield against European critics who were calling the destruction of the rule of law to account. However, the values of the “historical constitution” are not just political ideology, but a legal interpretation enshrined in the Fundamental Law, which binds those who apply the law. The Constitutional Court, which has lost its independence, has done this job by interpreting the Preamble to the Fundamental Law,” they write.

Read the full paper here.

Photo: The Hungarian Constitutional Court. Source:
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