Constitutional Court unlikely to discuss Lex CEU and NGO law before the election

November 27, 2017

Photo: Hungarian Constitutional Court

The Constitutional Court is unlikely to discuss “Lex CEU” and the “NGO law” before the parliamentary election in spring 2018, reports Magyar Nemzet.

Based on the conservative daily’s information, the two politically sensitive cases have yet to be put on the Constitutional Court’s docket. As both cases are subject to political dispute it is very likely that the court will not discuss them before the election, since renewed interest in these cases might only strengthen the opposition’s positions.

The modification of the higher education law, also known as Lex CEU, was created to fetter the legal operation of the Budapest-based Central European University (CEU).  Adopted on April 4 the law was openly criticized by various established constitutional lawyers and institutions. But this did not dissuade President János Áder from signing it into law without requesting a preliminary constitutional review from the Constitutional Court.

The so-called “NGO law” adopted on June 13 stipulates that non-governmental organizations receiving more than HUF 7.2 million (USD 27,300) from foreign sources annually must register themselves in court as “foreign-funded”.  Here, too, President Áder signed the bill into law, ignoring criticism by the affected NGOs and numerous attempts by the opposition to modify the law. Several NGOs filed a constitutional complaint in the Constitutional Court. Politics Can Be Different (LMP) co-chair Ákos Hadházy submitted a petition with the signature of 60 MPs for the court to review the law.

While in the case of preliminary constitutional reviews the Constitutional Court must finish its review in 30 days, according to Hungary’s constitution, the so-called Fundamental Law, posterior constitutional reviews have no deadline.