Real-existing democracy, Constitution and Law

Philippe C. Schmitter: The Future of ‘Real-existing’ Democracy
A ‘Real-existing’ Democracy (or RED in my terminology) has three characteristics: (1) it calls itself democratic; (2) it is recognized by other self-proclaimed democracies as being “one of them;” and (3) most political scientists applying standard procedural criteria would code it as democratic. The great political paradox of our times is that precisely at the moment when so many aspiring neo-REDs emerged these archeo-REDs entered into crisis. I became convinced the major generic problems of contemporary REDs concern declining citizen trust in politicians and the diminished status of representative institutions, especially political parties and elections.  Therefore, those reforms that promise to increase voter turnout, stimulate membership in political parties, associations and movements and improve citizen confidence in the role of politicians as representatives and legislators deserve prior consideration, especially in those cases where they also make politics more attractive, even, entertaining, for citizens. The second most important problem concerns the increasing number of foreign residents and the ambiguous political status of these denizens in almost all European democracies. Time prevents me from providing any details about the reform proposals.  I conclude: ‘real-existing’ democracies can be reformed and improved in conformity with its two enduring core principles: the sovereign equality of citizens and the political accountability of rulers.

Csaba Varga: On the Nature of Law in Communism
Ever since the collapse of Communist party-ruled dictatorships either in the Soviet Union or in the vast Central European field spanning from the German Democratic Republic to Albania, one of the underlying issues to assess the nature of the dictatorships themselves has been the nature of law in so-called Communist societies. The examples of—taken as empirical tests for—the present paper are drawn mostly from Hungary’s recent past history while the philosophical framework of generalisation and analysis is forwarded by basic tenets of legal ontology, rooting in the late Zur Ontologie des gesellschaftlichen Seins posthumously published by George Lukács. Investigation starts by the dilemma of unlawfulness and lawfulness exemplified by questions like unlawfulness or law in action and negation of law or a separate order, and followed by examining the pathologies of legal mediation with special regards to instrumentalisation, reduction to a one-face, one-direction medium as well as to loss of contents, in order to arrive at outlining the law’s conceptual minimum and drawing the conclusion. It is ironical an outcome to realise that the legal superstructure erected in the name of Marxism could not even qualify to be labelled as legal, according to standards set by the same Marxism.

Zoltán Lomnici jr.: Why Did Hungary Need to Adopt a New Constitution?
For centuries, the Hungarian constitution was unwritten based on customary law, and later on fundamental codes. In the constitutional evolution since the 20th Century we had an extraordinary external inflow first of all from the Soviet Empire. This dramatic tradition began with  the advent of the Hungarian Soviet Republic, the Revolutionary Governing Council adopted a Provisional Constitution on 1919, provide for a Soviet-style political system. However, after some unsuccessful attempt, Hungary returned to its historical, unwritten pre-1918 constitution. Then in 1949, the Communist-controlled parliament adopted the present constitution as Act XX of 1949. It was modeled on Stalin’s 1936 Soviet Constitution. This bill was adopted on 20 August 1949, and slightly amended on 23 October 1989. The goal of this study is to demonstrate the hard way to Hungary’s first uninfluenced and democratic Constitution made by free elected legitimate Parliament – with attention to the relationships of the three federal branches of government, with emphasis on some of the powers and limitations of the executive, legislative and judicial bodies that arise from principles of separation of powers and national checks and balances.

József Szájer: The New Fundamentals Law of Hungary
On 18th of April, 2011 the Hungarian Parliament passed the new Constitution of the country. The author – the leader of the Hungarian Board for National Consultation and the Committee for Constitutional Building – describes the motivations behind the creation of the new Constitution, the background of the social and political authorization, and, in addition he presents the process of the preparation works and the birth of the new Constitution. In the second chapter of the study we examine the remarkable achievements, the major questions and innovations of the Constitution with a special emphasis of the environmental, demographic and economic sustainability. The Fundamental Law comprises five parts: National Avowal Foundation; Freedom and Responsibility; The State; Special Legal Orders. A modern constitution focuses on the responsibility that today’s generation should bear towards future generations, which is why the budget constraint is one of the most important provisions in the new Constitution. In this regard, the new Constitution means a new beginning for Hungary, since the Fundamental Law aims to ensure that the level of state debt does not exceed half of gross domestic product for the previous calendar year. The study demonstrates those fully detailed problematic points which gained high interest on both the local and the international scale, such as the areas of the economic constitutionality and the control mechanisms.

Gergely Gulyás: Creation of the New Hungarian Constitution
Parliament was empowered to adopt the new Constitution with a two-thirds majority of members of Parliament. This rule, which excludes the need for a referendum, is also the prevalent approach across Europe. Following a one-month-long parliamentary debate, on 18 April 2011 Hungary’s new Fundamental Law was adopted, with 262 Fidesz and KDNP members voting ‘yes’, 44 ‘no’ votes and one abstention. The President of the Republic signed it on 25 April 2011, and the new Fundamental Law will come into force on 1 January 2012. The new Constitution has not in essence changed the customary constitutional provisions for the separation of powers which have been in place in Hungary over the past two decades. In line with norms for a state under the rule of law, the Fundamental Law guarantees the independent and unbiased operation of the justice system. Compared to the current Constitution, the opportunities for preliminary constitutional review have been expanded: a constitutional review on any question can be initiated not only by the President, but also by Parliament before the introduction of a law. The Constitutional Court will also be able to conduct retrospective constitutional review with regard to fundamental rights on specific court cases. The Budgetary Council will have the right of veto in the procedure for adopting the central budget, in order to constrain state debt, and it is drawing the necessary conclusions from the mistakes of the last twenty years in the operation of a state under the rule of law and the deficiencies in regulations for the protection of public funds.

Lia Pop: Romanian Political System and the Global Crisis
Traversing the Global Economic Crisis, in Romanian case, is a case of a peculiar interest for the scholars. It is of a peculiar interest, firstly, because, it evolved against the policies addressed to end it.  It was a case diagnosed as  a “no-Crisis” at the beginning of the process as a global one; of a “limited Crisis” after the first policies designed to cure it and after the international financial institutions first support; and “a deep Crisis”, when the Executive was taking vital actions to solve it.  Secondly, it is, interesting, because the all management’s interferences resulted in paradoxical economic effects: from bad to worse! Thirdly, it is of scientific interest as an example of using hard times to change the political system and to secure the Power. The paper below is trying to argue the two thesis fallowing phases of Crisis and the policies of Romanian Executive addressed to it. In the analyze, it became obvious that the Executives were not focused on fighting the Crisis, but to secure the Power, and after this to use the Crisis, in order to change the political system. The most interesting part of dealing with the Crisis in Romania was its management. Instead of responding economically to it, the Romanian politicians in office ignored the challenge. They did not provide public analyses on the country’s problems and they did not organize large open debates on what is to be done.

Arvydas Guogis: The Development of Soviet Social Security System and Lithuania
The soviet social security model applied to all republics of the USSR, including Lithuania in 1940-1941 and 1944 – 1990. This paper concentrates mostly on the historic stages of soviet social security development and the distinguishing features of social security. The author discusses the beginning of social policy during the pre-revolutionary period, the administration of social system in Litbel Republic in 1919, the social security during the USSR industrialization, the social safety after death of Stalin and the last decades of the soviet social security. The system of social security formally relied on „Bismarckian“ principles but was distinguishable from the social security of market systems, first of all, due to centralization and one-party system, as well as the lack of contributions from employers and employees.