The governing party majority wants new House-rules to be passed for the last months of the parliamentary term. According to the Fidesz party members of the parliament, the most essential element of the motion is that the general rule requires six days to lapse between the tabling of a bill and the debate. Policy Agenda examined to what extent the House Rules are observed by the Parliament
Even Fidesz finds legislation too rapid?
The draft of the new House-Rules says that the general debate of a bill may take place no sooner than six days after the bill is handed in. Obviously, there are exceptions, but even in the case of urgency this may be requested with two-third majority only 6 times half a year, or in extraordinary proceedings four times half a year with simple majority. A loophole is still sustained by the bill, a chance of deviation from the house-rules, but for this two-third majority and within that the support of at least five opponent party representatives is needed.
According to this bill the Fidesz-KDNP parliamentary majority would give way to rapid legislation at most 10 times in half a year altogether with the urgency and exceptional proceedings in the next parliamentary term.
Policy Agenda examined the entire process of legislation in this parliamentary term. From among the 844 bills passed, in 278 cases, the general debate took place within 6 days following the submission of the bill. If the planned house-rules had entered into force, hitherto, in fact, this ‘weapon’ could have been resorted to in 70 casesonly, that is 208 acts would have come into being contrary to the House-Rules.
There was not a single term of 6 months when the number of bills debated urgently was under 10. Not even in the first half of 2011, whenlegislation was less strained due to Hungarian Presidency in the European Union.
Fraction-Governing versus House Speaker?
The media suggested that it was the House Speaker who urged new house rules. The disapproval expressed on several occasions regarding the pace of legislation, however, apparently confirms that Mr.LászlóKövérdoes not agree, in all aspects, with legislation, which is referred to as fraction-governing.
In Hungary, the fraction governing introduced by the Fidesz-KDNP has two major features. On the one hand, unlike in previous government terms, the number of bills tabled and passed by the members of the parliament increased. On the other hand, fraction-government has propensity for availing itself of the tools of rapid legislation. Bills tabled on Friday and passed on Monday are typical instances. This hastily pursued legislation is reflected by the 18 bills tabled this year in the case of which maximum 1 day lapsed between submission and general debate. Obviously, the members of parliament have no enough time to get prepared for any such debate. Fundamentally, this restricted the chances of the opposition.
The standard of legislation is undoubtedly impaired, if the governmental apparatus and preliminary discussions with the society are omitted from the process. Although fraction governing may seem powerfulto the public, for it suggests efficacy, but it also entails the need for ongoing corrections, which questions even the governing parties’capability of ruling.
The current bill of house rules suggests that the Fideszwants to give up its practice exclusively because LászlóKövér exerted pressure on them but they have never been compelled to that. Of course it is doubtful that in the new parliamentary term the fraction governing would really be discontinued as LászlóKövérwishes or the current practice of chaotic legislation would keep neglecting the House-Rules.