Following last week’s protests in Budapest, Hungary, thousands of people took to the streets again on Sunday, December 16th against the introduction of regressive labour laws, and also against what appears to be another authoritarian blow by the government to the country’s free institutions.
A court for one
The first issue to raise the anger of the opposition is the introduction of parallel administrative courts, which would more or less fall directly under the control of Prime Minister Viktor Orban. According to civil rights watchdogs, this move will further threaten the country’s separation of executive and judicial powers.
Merry Christmas, Mr. Prime Minister!
The second focus of the protest, which saw all the opposition parties join together in a march dubbed “Merry Christmas, Mr. Prime Minister!” concerns recent labour laws.
Here, new legislation now gives Hungarian companies the right to demand from their employees up to 400 hours of overtime a year, while being able to delay payment for overtime for up to three years. “All I want for Xmas is democracy,” one protester in the crowd had written on his banner.
Noting the seriousness of the situation, this year the European Parliament took the unique stance of initiating EU scrutiny over Oban’s efforts to hollow out the country’s democratic institutions.
- The New York Times: ” Hungary Creates New Court System, Cementing Leader’s Control of Judiciary “
- Le Monde: ” Hongrie : des milliers de Hongrois protestent contre le gouvernement Orban “
Photo credit :
- Wikipedia: Viktor Orbán