Radicova no plans to react to Orban’s Constitution

Since the Fidesz party of Hungarian PM Viktor Orban pushed through its revision to the Hungarian Constitution recently, leading Slovak opposition party Smer-SD has been pushing for Slovakia to retaliate by amending its own constitution.

Smer-SD, led by former PM Robert Fico, wants to combat the clause in the draft Hungarian Constitution that affords collective rights to ethnic Hungarians abroad, by stipulating in the Slovak constitution that it only recognises individual rights for ethnic minorities and not a collective one.

The party argues that collective rights are not acknowledged by European legislation either, while the new Hungarian Constitution is in conflict with this principal. Now Smer-SD wants to put more pressure on the government to take specific action in this respect, instead of keeping silent.

Changing the Slovak Constitution requires a consensus of the opposition and the ruling coalition, as neither bench has the three-fifths majority needed for a constitutional amendment. In response, Prime Minister Iveta Radicova said that she does not think it is necessary to change the Slovak Constitution as a reaction to the Hungarian parliament’s actions, saying it would merely show a sign of weakness.

The PM made it clear that she had agreed with her Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban not to communicate on these issues via the media, thus rejecting claims of the Smer-SD party that she and foreign minister Mikulas Dzurinda had maybe even agreed with Orban to keep hush about such issues. The PM even said she was starting to feel sorry for Smer-SD chairman Robert Fico because of his need to make all kinds of futile accusations against her government.

In any case, the revised Hungarian Constitution talks about Hungary being responsible for Hungarians abroad, denoting a certain extraterritorial extension of its powers, which is one of the fundamental problems. The Smer-SD party will therefore submit its draft amendment to the Slovak Constitution to parliament tomorrow so it can be processed in time for the next parliament session convened for 17 May.

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