The New Hungarian Basic Law –
Preliminaries and Consequences

The Basic Law is almost beyond its first half year but in several questions the
constitutional adjudication is still unknown. In certain issues the Basic Law
introduced significant novelties (while other issues remained unaltered) and it
is an open question how the judiciary and especially the Constitutional Court
will apply the particular regulations. The role the political atmosphere plays
in the constitutional system of a given country can hardly be neglected in the
evaluation of the constitutionalism of a state; however, it is out of the scope of
legal sciences in a narrow sense. Therefore, in order to introduce the Basic Law
of Hungary, the text of the constitution was used as a starting point, as the
interpretation and the application of the new constitution in practice has not
developed yet. We focus on three issues. Firstly, on the creation of the Basic Law,
secondly, the philosophical background and the general questions, and finally we
point out the most significant changes in the Hungarian state organisation and
the field of human rights. We emphasise that the constitution cannot be regarded
as equal with its mere text. The role of the constitution is not only to lay down
the basic rules of the constitutional system and to recognise human rights. To
a certain extent it has to be a flexible, open document which can conform to the
changing circumstances, and which is highly influenced by the constitutional
culture and the course of interpretation. The new Hungarian Basic Law will serve
as a good example of the fragile relation between the constitutional norm and
the constitutional reality.

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