Sólyom in a new role

A few days ago I wrote: " Fidesz will announce its pick for Sólyom's successor on June 28 and by the next day the House will vote on the nomination. Sólyom will then have a couple of months in office to take revenge." In fact, I was wrong in connecting Sólyom's change of heart to a specific date. I should have asked: when will László Sólyom realize that he has no chance whatsoever of being reappointed to a post that by all appearances he very much liked?

I'm almost certain that after the first round of the national elections he was still hopeful. Otherwise, he wouldn't have gushed about the happy moment that had arrived with Fidesz's spectacular showing. He may have had some doubts about Fidesz's plans for the future by May 14 when he delivered a speech at the opening of the new session of parliament. He kept emphasizing the gravity of the situation and the enormous tasks ahead that require the support of the whole country. The message directed to Fidesz was that the party in its new position shouldn't try to govern without paying attention to the different civil organizations and the opposition parties and those whom these parties represent. Obviously, Fidesz paid no attention because they had already decided that "Sólyom must go." And Sólyom by then must have known that his fate was sealed.

If he didn't know it before, he certainly must have known by the end of April that he can start packing. On April 17, Zoltán Pokorni, deputy chairman of Fidesz, made the mistake of telling the whole world that the party had decided already: Hungary can be grateful to the president and he personally thinks very highly of László Sólyom but if someone asked him whether in the next few years Sólyom will be the president or not he would answer "no, he will not be." That was clear talk.

I don't know when Sólyom decided on the title for his book that appeared in bookstores on June 14, but the title is telling: Settling Accounts/Elszámolás. The book is actually a collection of his speeches and writings during his presidency. Only someone who knows that the end is near would opt for such a book title.

On May 31 Sólyom signed the first legislative act of the new parliament, which didn't surprise me. After all it was about granting citizenship to Hungarians living outside the country. Sólyom was always a champion of the "unification of the nation" policy of Fidesz and managed to make quite a few enemies in Romania and Slovakia as a result. However, on June 4 he refused to sign the law that allowed civil servants to be dismissed without any justification. He sent the proposed legislation back to parliament with an explanation. He told the legislators that the law as it stands is not in conformity with the laws of the European Union. That was clear enough talk, and I really didn't think that Fidesz would have the temerity to send it back to Sólyom without any modifications. He is now obliged to sign it. I wonder whether the great legal minds of Fidesz considered that this case can be taken to the European Court of Justice where I'm almost certain the verdict would go against the Hungarian government.

Today Sólyom sent back to parliament another piece of legislation concerning the nomination of the members of the constitutional court. As Sólyom explained, he couldn't send it for control to the constitutional court because past decisions of the court indicate that the judges don't consider a change in the constitution to be either constitutional or unconstitutional. Sólyom further explained that although the current practice of picking judges proved to be unworkable, the proposed one is not an improvement. On the contrary, it will make things worse. In his opinion one cannot determine the composition of such an important body as the constitutional court on the basis of a house rule. He thinks that neither the current practice nor the proposed one is in conformity with European practice. In his opinion the composition of the nominating committee should be fixed in the constitution itself, and he expressed his belief that the committee should include the president and the chief justice of the supreme court ex officio. Well, we will see what will happen this time.

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted

“I’m almost certain the verdict would go against the Hungarian government.”
I’m not so sure, cf.
I don’t know if it’s right, but it’s a big surprising why it is so hard to decide if EU prohibits it or not…

Odin's Lost eye

The general principle of European law is that each case has to be heard and tested on its merits. Historical precedents also form a large part of the process. The problem for Hungary is that Article 30 (the protection of employment rights) mentions BOTH EU and Hungarian labour laws, but European law takes precedence. It is interesting that the writers of the article you mention were unable to find a Hungarian version of the Charter. It says much about the Hungarian establishment’s wish to keep everyone in the dark about their rights and the mechanisms by which they can be invoked. The use of these mechanisms can have amazing effects and cause governments to abruptly change course (as well as pay out huge sums in fines, damages and compensation.

Eva S. Balogh

pgyzs: “”I’m almost certain the verdict would go against the Hungarian government.” I’m not so sure, cf. http://drotontul.blog.hu/2010/06/22/indoklas_nelkuli_kirugas_es_az_eu I don’t know if it’s right, but it’s a big surprising why it is so hard to decide if EU prohibits it or not…”
One legal expert says this, the other says that. Although Sólyom is not one of my favorites, I assume that he knows the laws of the European Union a bit better than, for example, Róbert Répássy. So, for the time being I am siding with Sólyom.


Eva: I’d agree with you, if Sólyom is good in anything it is legal issues especially if you compare him to Répássy. On the other hand
“One legal expert says this, the other says that”
Is confusing to me and I think the EU is making a big mistake by not declaring where it stands, since then there is plenty of space for experts and “experts” to raise confusion. (and I’m sure this happens in other countries as well). After all what matters is not who you side with but what does the European court decide in the end. I’m fascinated.

Odin's Lost eye

I have been thinking further in the matter of E.U. employment regulations. Under E.U. regulations an employee can be made redundant without explanation. This means that the job which they did ceases. No one else can do it and no one else can be employed for at least one year. The job may be moved elsewhere but no new people can be employed to do it in the new location. Compensation is laid down in terms of the length of time employed in the concern.
One of the problems that the E.U. has is that in general terms, the law cannot anticipate a crime/problem. You can get a ‘Council’s Opinion’ from a lawyer, but that is all it is, an opinion. Any QC or other high ranking lawyer will tell you whilst he/she knows the law, they do not quite know how a judge will interpret it and relate it to other laws. I know it is tricky, but as the large criminal said of the very small judge “These little things are sent to try us”