Hungary’s Viktor Orban is using covid-19 to create an autocracy

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The brazenness of Orban’s power grab is without any parallel in recent European history.

Like Hungary, other European countries have declared a state of emergency and are resorting to draconian measures. They include shutting down air travel, closing borders, restricting personal freedom and even nationalizing sectors of the economy. While all European governments need flexibility in order to respond to the lethal pandemic in real time, any new powers they acquire are subject to parliamentary review and are planned to remain in effect only for limited periods.

Similarly, the Hungarian constitution allows the government to maintain a state of emergency (in place since March 11) only for an initial period of 15 days, after which it must seek parliamentary approval.

Yet instead of asking parliament for an extension for a fixed period, to be followed by another round of parliamentary deliberation if necessary, the…

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