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Sep 08, 2018 - Zoltán Kovács

The debate over the Sargentini Report, Part 2: Are they really this desperate?

As I wrote in Part 1, the European Parliament will convene in plenary next Tuesday to debate a resolution to trigger an Article 7 procedure against Hungary for alleged violations of the rule of law. Following the debate, it could be put to a vote on Wednesday. According to sources in the EP, liberals and leftists have become so desperate to push through the Sargentini Report that they would resort to an underhanded voting trick.

In an interview with Hungarian radio station Karc FM, Fidesz MEP Tamás Deutsch said that signs in the European Parliament suggest that Sargentini and her crew may attempt to employ a dubious trick to gather the votes they need to pass the resolution. The devil is in the details.

According to the founding treaties of the European Union, two criteria should be met in the EP to pass the resolution. It must win the support of 50 percent plus one of all MEPs – which would be at least 376 votes in today’s European Parliament, and those votes should constitute a two-thirds majority of all those present. Seems clear enough.

But it seems some would like to manipulate the number by playing with the abstentions. Generally – and in line with EU treaties – MEPs who abstain from voting are counted as present but abstaining. In order to make sure that her report passes – that is, that it collects at least two-thirds of the votes from the MEPs present – Ms. Sargentini’s camp has come up with the grand idea that abstentions should be counted as absent, deviously reducing the number of MEPs from which they would need to secure a two-thirds majority.

As I wrote in my previous post, the report itself has seriously flows, rehashing issues that are ancient history, resolved long ago. But now, it seems, some want to play fast and loose with the voting rules.

Lest anyone miss the irony here: A group of leftist and liberal MEPs in the European Parliament are putting Hungary on the dock for allegedly violating the rule of law. Having come up short in her exhaustive report, Sargentini and her cohorts are now so desperate that their willing to violate the voting rules.

I look forward to the lecturing in the European Parliament on Tuesday about European values and the rule of law.