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Corruption Risks In the New Constitution

Corruption Risks In the New Constitution

Transparency International Hungary called the attention to numerous corruption risks in the Bill regarding the new Constitution, on which the Parliament will vote today. The international anti-corruption organisation also resented that the new constitution was prepared with the total ignorance of the Act on Legislation and the Act on Public Participation.„As a result of circumventing the Act on Legislation the  public negotiation of the draft submitted to the Parliament has not taken place. Nevertheless, we considered the examination of the new constitution’s corruption risks important” – said Ádám Földes, executive director of the Transparency International Hungary. „Itis contrary to the Act on Legislation in force that none of the relevant cardinal acts is known and that we neither know anything about the transitional provisions of the Fundamental Law” – counted the concerns regarding the constitutional drafting procedure the leader of TI Hungary.

The anti-corruption organisation marked as a problem in its resolution that the right to access to the Constitutional Court was restricted and the former restriction of the body’s competence was maintained, which makes impossible to mitigate consequences from the most serious forms of corruption. The citizens will not have the opportunity in the future to initiate the procedure of the Constitutional Court if they suspect that a law was adopted as a result of illicit influence on the lawmaker. Endangering the independence of courts can be an obstacle in the fight against corruption.

The National Council of Justice is not mentioned either in the Bill’s text or in its justification, and we neither know anything about the reform conceptions regarding the judiciary.

Abolishing the institution of Data Protection and Freedom of Information Commissioner is also worrying according to the anti-corruption organisation. Firstly because citizens seeking legal remedies, journalists, non-governmental organisations will be able to access judicial remedies only after an unnecessarily long and complex procedure through a public administration authority instead of obtaining directly a judicial decision in their case as it is regulated now. Restricting the freedom of information is a natural obstacle in the prevention and prosecution of corruption. The more difficult is to access information the less the chance to discover decision-makers’ abuse of entrusted power for private gain. The previous version of the draft of the Fundamental Law included that the rules of the operation and management of parties have to be regulated regarding transparent public life, although the Bill introduced in the Parliament excluded this provision. According to TI’s position, without regulating party- and campaign financing in an effective, transparent and strictly enforced way the transparency of public life cannot be ensured, therefore the abandoned provision could be especially important in the fight against corruption.

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