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FOR Communication 14/2020: Hungarian and Polish governments use COVID-19 pandemic in fight for more power


  • On March 30th, 2020, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán acquired for his government unlimited power of ruling by means of decrees.
  • The Hungarian government’s newly established right to govern by decrees – unlimited in time – is in no need of consultations with the opposition nor any other form of parliamentary debate. Such debates would have to take place if the government limited itself to introducing the state of danger enshrined in the constitution and followed the original, constitutional framework.
  • Despite the fact that all constitutional conditions have been met, the Polish government consistently refuses to introduce the emergency state of natural disaster. Thanks to this, it is still theoretically possible to carry out the presidential elections in May 2020.
  • Polish regulations on the state of natural disaster, one of the three possible states of emergency, allow for restrictions to be imposed on certain civil rights and freedoms, but hold the authorities under no obligation to use all available legal tools.
  • Further restrictions with no legal and constitutional basis are being introduced in Poland


Eliza Rutynowska, lawyer
[email protected]

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