Hungarys Prime Minister Viktor Orban declares state of emergency amid Russia-Ukraine war

As the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues for the 91st day, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban declared a state of emergency on Tuesday in reaction to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. Orban said in a video message that the Ukraine conflict is a “continuous threat to Hungary,” which has put their security at risk. He also said that the conflict is threatening the energy and financial stability of the country’s economy and households. Orban also stated that the first actions taken by his government will be disclosed on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Orban’s ruling party enacted a constitutional change that allows for formal declarations of danger when armed conflicts, wars, or humanitarian disasters occur in neighbouring countries. The extraordinary order allows the government to adopt laws by decree without parliamentary approval. In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Hungary’s government took similar steps, which drew criticism from opponents and legal experts.

The Hungarian parliament, which had recently been sworn in, altered the constitution to allow for such a move shortly before the announcement. TASZ, the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, slammed the measure, calling it a “permanent state of emergency,” according to media reports. TASZ suggests that this action will provide Orban more freedom than usual to restrict or simply suspend everyone’s fundamental rights.

Orban has maintained a close connection with Putin

Despite Hungary’s membership in NATO, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has maintained a close connection with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the Ukraine conflict and has consistently advocated for a softer Western attitude approach to Russia. In the meanwhile, in a letter to the head of the European Council, Prime Minister Orban stated that the European Union’s planned new measures against Russia, including an oil embargo, should not be considered at next week’s summit of the bloc’s leaders.

Since assuming office in 2010, Orban’s government has been accused of weakening democratic liberties in Hungary and consolidating power via public resources. On April 3, the ruling Fidesz party won its fourth consecutive election, giving Orban, the European Union’s longest-serving leader, a new four-year term. Orban has been in power for 12 years and is frequently accused of abusing authority in Hungary.

Image: AP

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