In 2010 Hungary began the process of drafting a new constitution. Hungary was the only Eastern Bloc country that did not adopt a new constitution after 1989. One of the main criticisms of the peaceful system change in Hungary was that it was elite-led and ridden with too many compromises. Hungary’s current constitution is one that is widely considered a patchwork of amendments and lacks popular legitimacy and attachment. As Hungary drafts a new constitution, it is all the more important to have a good understanding of the fundamental principles that underpin a Constitution of Liberty.The resources listed below attempt to provide a better understanding of Hungary’s constitutional history and political traditions as well as the fundamental principles of constitutionalism:
Projected timeline of constitutional process
September 7, 2010: Working groups are created within the ad hoc Parliamentary Committee responsible for drafting the Constitution. Working groups review and deliberate on the proposals submitted to the Committee. Working groups start drafting concept papers for their respective topic.
September 30, 2010: Governmental bodies, NGOs, the academic community submit their suggestions and proposals for the concept and framework of the new Constitution.
October 20, 2010: Working groups prepare framework proposals relevant to their respective topic.
November 2-15, 2010: The Committee debates the prepared concept papers.
November 30, 2010: The Summarizing Working Group prepares the general concept of the new Constitution.
December 10-15, 2010: The Parliamentary Draft Committee debates the main principles to be represented within the new Constitution and decides on the final concept paper to be introduced in Parliament.
January – March, 2011: Drafting of constitutional text.
March 22 – April 18, 2011: Scheduled Parliamentary debate on proposed Constitution Draft.
April 18, 2011: Scheduled adoption of new constitution.
April 25, 2011: President of the Republic signs the Constitution into law.
January 1, 2012: Constitution goes into effect.
Important Documents / Recommended Research
- “Four Recommendations for Hungary’s Proposed Constitution” (The Heritage Foundation: March 25, 2011)
- Government Questionnaire to Hungarian Voters about the New Constitution (March 10, 2011 – English translation)
- “General Principles Guiding Hungary’s Constitution” (Parliamentary Draft Committee Final Draft, submitted December 20, 2010 – English version)
- “Magyarország Alkotmányának Szabályozási Elvei” (Parliamentary Draft Committee Final Draft, submitted December 20, 2010 – Hungarian version)
- “General Principles Guiding Hungary’s Constitution” (Parliamentary Draft Committee Working Document – English version)
- “Magyarország Alkotmányának Szabályozási Elvei” (Parliamentary Draft Committee Working Document – Hungarian version)
- Constitution of the Republic of Hungary (official English version as of January, 2010)
Political and Legal Background in Hungary and Region:
- William B. Simons, The Constitutions of the Communist World (Alphen aan den Rijn, The Netherlands: Sijthoff & Noordhoff International Publishers, 1980)
- Rett R. Ludwikowski, Constitution-Making in the Region of Former Soviet Dominance (Durham: Duke University Press, 1996)
- Elemér Hantos, The Magna Carta of the English and of the Hungarian Constitution: A Comparative View of the Law and Institutions of the Early Middle Ages (Clark, New Jersey: The Lawbook Exchange, 2005)
- Balázs Schanda, Religious Freedom Issues in Hungary
- Andrea Mezei, The Role of Constitution-Building Processes in Democratization: The Case Study of Hungary (Stockholm: International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, 2005)
- Zsuzsanna Antal, Introduction to Hungarian Law Research (Hauser Global Law School Program, August 2009)
- András Jakab, Neutralizing the Sovereignty Question: Compromise Strategies in Constitutional Argumentations about the Concept of Sovereignty for the European Integration (2007) – includes a concise summary of the Holy Crown doctrine on p. 6.
- Paul Blokker, Constitutional Politics, Constitutional Texts and Democratic Variety in Central and Eastern Europe (Sussex European Institute Working Paper No. 105, September 2008)
- Sir William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England in Four Books, 2 vols. (1753): Available Online
- M.J.C. Vile, Constitutionalism and the Separation of Powers (1967), 2nd ed. Available Online
- Tom Ginsburg, Comparative Constitutional Review (July 30, 2008). Available Online
- Tom Ginsburg, Judicial Appointments and Judicial Independence (January 2009)
- Cheryl Saunders, Options for Decentralizing Power (Melbourne Law School)
American Constitutional Tradition:
- The United States Constitution
- The Founders’ Constitution (University of Chicago Press, 1987)
- American constitutionalism original documents (Avalon Project, Yale University)
- James McClellan, Liberty, Order, and Justice: An Introduction to the Constitutional Principles of American Government (3rd ed.) (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2000).
- Jonathan Elliot, The Debates in the Several State Conventions of the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, 5 vols. (1827): Available Online
- The Founders’ Almanac
- Religion and the Founding of the American Republic (U.S. Library of Congress)
Past CSS “Constitution of Liberty” Events:
- Panel: Hungary’s New Constitution: Prospects for Liberty and the Rule of Law (March 21, 2011)
- Discussion: Should the Holy Crown Doctrine be included in the Preamble (January 26, 2011)
- Discussion: Assessing the New Constitution Draft Document (December 7, 2010)
- Panel: Separation of Powers and the Rule of Law in the New Constitution(November 29, 2010)
- Reading Group: Federalist Papers – the principles of Separation of Powers ( November 10, 2010)
- Debate: Should the Current Constitution be Reformed or Transformed? (October 18, 2010)
- Debate: Does Hungary Need A New Constitution? (September 29, 2010)
- Reading Group: The Law by Frédéric Bastiat (March 1, 2010)
You can help us make this resource page more complete by sending us your suggested additions to firstname.lastname@example.org.