Hungarian power grab

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Power grab: In the face of mass protests and international condemnation, the Hungarian parliament has overwhelmingly passed 15 pages of amendments to the country’s 1-year-old constitution that practically abolish all judicial checks on the government.

The amendments retroactively restore a number of controversial laws that were passed by the right-wing Fidesz government but subsequently ruled unconstitutional by the courts. Among them: one that allows for the jailing of the homeless and another that bans political campaign ads on non-government television channels. The European Union, of which Hungary is a member, said the changes violate the spirit of the rule of law. “If necessary we will use our legal instruments to make sure that these laws are changed,” said European Commission spokesperson Olivier Bailly.