OPINION ON […] THE NEW CONSTITUTION OF HUNGARY, EUROPEAN COMMISSION FOR DEMOCRACY THROUGH LAW (VENICE COMMISSION):
“[…] IV. The process of the adoption of a new Constitution
14. At the date of the visit of its delegation, the text of the draft Constitution had not yet been
released. The Commission was informed that the draft was being finalised and it was
envisaged to present it very soon to the majority’s parliamentary group (FIDESZ) and to
subsequently submit it to Parliament (by 15 March 2011). The adoption of the Constitution
was foreseen for 18 April 2011. – 5 – CDL-AD(2011)001
15. The Venice Commission notes that, while initially associated to this process in the
framework of the Ad-hoc Committee for Drafting the Constitution, the opposition forces were
for several months not participating in the elaboration of the draft and that there was no longer
a dialogue between the majority and the opposition in this regard. It understands that the
opposition’s decision to withdraw from the process was in particular linked to the limitation of
the powers of the Constitutional Court with regard to the constitutionality of Acts and Bills on
state budget and taxes, adopted by the Hungarian parliament in November 2010.
16. Moreover, concerns have been raised within the civil society over the lack of transparency
of the process and the inadequate consultation of the Hungarian society on the main
constitutional challenges to be addressed in this context. Since the draft was only submitted to
the Parliament on 14 March 2011, only limited public debate could take place on the changes
and novelties that the future Constitution might introduce.
17. The tight schedule established for its adoption is also a serious source of concern and has
been raised by most of the interlocutors of the Commission.
18. The Commission would like to recall that transparency, openness and inclusiveness,
adequate timeframe and conditions allowing pluralism of views and proper debate of
controversial issues, are key requirements of a democratic Constitution-making process.
19. In its opinion, a wide and substantive debate involving the various political forces, nongovernment organisations and citizens associations, the academia and the media is an
important prerequisite for adopting a sustainable text, acceptable for the whole of the society
and in line with democratic standards. Too rigid time constraints should be avoided and the
calendar of the adoption of the new Constitution should follow the progress made in its debate. […]” http://www.venice.coe.int/docs/2011/CDL-AD(2011)001-e.pdf