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PM Orban secures open-ended emergency powers from parliament to fight coronavirus in Hungary

PM Orban secures open-ended emergency powers from parliament to fight coronavirus in Hungary

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Monday secured the right to rule by decree to fight the coronavirus outbreak. His Fidesz party passed a law in parliament granting the PM open-ended extra powers.

The legislation extending a state of emergency has triggered criticism from opposition parties, human rights groups and the Council of Europe, as it contains no timeframe, Reuters reports. The law also imposes jail time of up to five years on those hindering measures aimed at containing the spread of the virus and on those spreading false information related to the crisis.

The government said the law would empower ministers to adopt only measures that were necessary to fight the virus, and parliament could revoke the special powers.

Fidesz has a two-thirds majority in parliament. Opposition lawmakers supported the government’s efforts to manage the crisis, but said they wanted a time limit to the government’s special powers.