Tamas Sulyok - Photo: wikipedia

Top court’s head: Constitution can only be changed by observing current regulations

Hungary's constitution can only be changed by observing current regulations, the head of the Constitutional Court said in an interview on public radio on Sunday, in connection with a declaration by the prime ministerial candidate of Hungary's joint opposition of his intention to overturn Hungary's constitution should he assume power in the 2022 general election.

Tamas Sulyok on Tuesday published an open letter in response to growing political “perceptions” that Hungary’s fundamental law could be “annulled with the stroke of a pen” and the court dissolved in the event of a change of government after the election next spring.

The contents of the constitution can be up for debate, but the amendments can be implemented only according to current legislation, he said. “The alternative of constitutional order is uncertainty, a coup, and a political situation never before seen in Hungary,” he said.

Since the fall of communism in 1990, a political consensus formed among Hungarian political forces to comply with the constitution “in any event”, Sulyok said. “No one has ever doubted that laws can be amended … [but] only using constitutional means,” he said.

In an interview to Kossuth Radio on Sunday, Sulyok noted that this had been the “first time the head of the Constitutional Court felt the need to publish an open letter to representatives of other branches of power on the matter.”

He also stated that constitutional judges cannot be removed from office. The operation of European constitutional courts is based on the principle that their decisions are “binding for everyone” and that constitutional judges cannot be removed from office during their tenure, he said.

The prime ministerial candidate of Hungary’s joint opposition, Peter Marki-Zay, had mooted the idea of holding a referendum on whether to retain the current constitution or to draw up a new one.

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