The Hungarian government has submitted to lawmakers a draft bill on protecting national sovereignty and an amendment to the Fundamental Law which opens up the possibility of establishing a Sovereignty Protection Office.
A draft cardinal law on setting up the independent body to protect constitutional identity was published by the justice ministry on its website and the bill was submitted late on Tuesday. The bill states that Hungarian sovereignty “is increasingly under illegal attack”, and that the 2022 general election campaign of the opposition was influenced by foreign financing. Hungarian regulations already prohibit parties from accepting foreign money, it states, but the opposition bypassed them by channelling the funds through its political organisations and business associations. So the sovereignty protection office will be tasked with investigating organisations whose activities funded from abroad may influence the outcome of the elections, according to the bill. The head of the office would be appointed by the President of the Republic at the proposal of the prime minister for a six-year term, starting on February 1, 2024. Further, the Penal Code would be amended: a candidate that made use of foreign money or gained a financial advantage by concealing the origin of the prohibited foreign funding would be criminally liable and face up to three years in prison. The 12th constitutional amendment also includes the provision of a unique, permanent identifier for the digital management of affairs, while it also states that a trade union may not form or operate in connection with members of the Hungarian Armed Forces.