Hungary's ruling party overhauls constitution, consolidates power

January 6, 2012

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(AP/ Bela Szandelszky)
Tens of thousands of Hungarians gathered to protest the new constitution in Budapest.

The government of Hungary drafted a new constitution that took effect on January 1, 2011.  The rewrite gave the ruling party Fidesz a whole lot more power to further its political agenda, while handicapping the Constitutional Court’s jurisdiction and filling the judiciary with political allies.  Hungarians have taken to the streets, calling the move an undemocratic power grab. The European Commission has launched an investigation to determine whether the changes violate the Lisbon Treaty, which governs E.U. membership. Worldview talks with Kim Lane Scheppele, a professor at Princeton University’s Program of Law and Public Affairs who worked on Hungary's constitutional drafting process in the mid-1990s.