Parliament has passed a law on the government’s response to the second wave of the novel coronavirus epidemic, extending the state of emergency declared due to the pandemic for a period of 90 days.
The legislation was approved in an expedited procedure with a vote of 180 for and one against. Parliament may rescind the government’s emergency powers before the state of emergency expires. Under the law, the government is required to regularly brief lawmakers on its pandemic response measures.
In its justification of the bill, the government said it aimed to “continue saving lives”, adding that this required “quickness and an ability to respond” to the epidemic. The “special legal order” in connection with the coronavirus epidemic came into effect last Wednesday.
Hungary’s constitution allows the government to declare a state of emergency for a period of 15 days, but the approval of two-thirds of lawmakers is required for any extension. A state of emergency allows the government to suspend the application of some legislation, diverge from legal provisions and take other extraordinary measures by decree.
The prime minister on Monday announced a new round of restrictive measures, including a curfew between 8pm and 5am.