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Jobbik asks Constitutional Court for accelerated procedure in billboard case

Photo: index.hu/János Bődey

Jobbik has submitted a request to the Constitutional Court to initiate an accelerated procedure for deciding on the constitutionality of the so-called billboard law, passed under dubious circumstances by a simple Fidesz-KDNP majority this summer, mno.hu reports.

The far-right party argues that if the Constitutional Court fails to make a timely decision, then the legitimacy of next spring’s national election will be drawn into question, as well as the rule of law in Hungary. Jobbik argues that numerous elements of the billboard law violate Hungary’s Fundamental Law and limit the right of opposition parties to freely express their opinion.

The law was passed in response to a national anti-government billboard campaign earlier this year depicting Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, key ministers and suspected Orbán straw men as criminal conspirators. The posters were run by Jobbik and certain private persons at Jobbik’s behest, through the spring and summer. The law, which was rushed through parliament, stipulates that advertising spaces may not be secured for less than market prices (this precludes Jobbik from receiving discounted or free billboard space from its reported ally, former Fidesz oligarch Lajos Simicska), and that the contracts for renting ad space must be sent to a government office for inspection. If the contracts are not delivered, the local office, with the help of police, may remove the ads.

Jobbik later purchased 1,100 of its own billboard spaces around the country on which it published its anti-Fidesz ads, but those faced removal by local government offices.

Jobbik representatives in the National Assembly, along with four LMP, 25 MSZP and four independent MPs, succeeded in July this year in petitioning the Constitutional Court to review the controversial law.

Justin Spike :