Elections 2014: Bridled Legislation

Elections 2014: Bridled Legislation

Last week Policy Agenda analysed what is the campaign expected to be like in spring. Zero risk and the possibly fewest mistakes seem to lead to success for the governing parties. Legislation is a hot spot in this respect, but preliminary findings show that the cabinet’s output will be turned down for the next two months.

Slow Pace

Examining the last months of the past four governmental and parliamentary terms it turns out that the Bajnai-government functioned as if there had been no elections, while legislation was rather neglected by the governments in all other terms. In 2010, altogether 248 acts, parliamentary decisions, government decrees or government decisions were passed.

Number of statutes passed in the year of election up to the date of voting (the 1st round)




Parliamentary decision

Government decree

Government decision



37 (from which 16 were international)911290


43 (from which 18 were international)98439


9 (from which 8 were international)176832


36 (from which 8 were international)369259


Apparently, the present government intends to follow its own practice of 2002, when the elections were preceded by low legislative activity. The government’s work schedule and program of legislation also support this. The work schedule includes 49 legislative tasks up to the elections, which is much less than the 99 legislative assignments that the Bajnai-government assumed for the last months. The fact that merely two bills have been tabled for debate to the Parliament also demonstrates that the possibility of mistakes in the field of legislation is also intended to be diminished.

Country without Parliament

Right before the elections the lawmakers will have a break. The duration has yet to be announced but presumably the Parliament will not have sessions after 11 February considering the number of legislative tasks. This would mean a break of 54 days prior to the elections. With this the record holder is not the present Parliament but the Horn-government in 1998, when the Parliament was last convened 55 days before the elections.

Unexpected Conflicts

Although there are not any essential bills included in the work schedule of the present government, two events might disturb the original plan of the cabinet that is to avoid scandals in legislation.

In this respect the reduction of overhead costs undoubtedly conveys a positive message, however the timing and the rate might provide grounds for attacks. This might be favourable for the Jobbik, who will demand prompt overhead cost reductions due to their radical views, while the democratic wing of the opposition will probably be more restrained.

Ratification of the pact between Putyin and Orbán by the Parliament will serve grounds for considerable attacks. The preliminary announcement made by the government said that this agreement will be debated by the parliament this week, but obviously no extraordinary session was convened for that. Presumably, this issue will be in the primary focus of communication as for legislation next week.

And what has been left out…..Foreign Currency Loan Debtors’ Dilemmas Not Yet Resolved

Government actions has yet to be taken in two fields and these might affect the result of elections. One is the so-called act on the regulation of non-profit public utilities supply, which would set the rules of profit-free public utility supply in Hungary. However the statements made by the governing party suggest that this task will extend to the next parliamentary term.

The other unresolved legislative issue is the dilemma over the foreign currency loan. For the solution has yet to be found, the governing party politicians, apparently, play for time. For the time being, they expect the Supreme Court to provide guidance, but it is for almost sure, that even after obtaining the guidance they will not rush with legislation.