Hungary ends Orban’s emergency powers on 20 June

Hungary will lift the state of emergency imposed due to the coronavirus crisis on 20 June, Justice Minister Judit Varga said on Tuesday, cited by news agencies. PM Viktor Orban was given the powers without a time limit in a vote by parliament where his party holds a two-thirds majority, drawing EU criticism. But Orban has said that parliament could at any time cancel the special powers.

According to Varga, who announced the 20 June target in a Facebook post, the international criticism on Hungary is "unfounded attack". She added: "We expect (our critics) to apologise for waging a smear campaign instead of cooperating on defence (against the coronavirus)." Asked to clarify whether that meant the special powers would also end on 20 June in addition to the standard state of emergency, government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said the two "by definition go hand in hand."

Hungary reported a total of 3,771 coronavirus cases and 499 deaths as of Tuesday, fairly low numbers compared with other EU countries due to an early and strict lockdown, which the government has been gradually easing since early May. Orban's power to rule by decree continued with parliament in session. His latest decree stipulated government approval for major foreign stakes in domestic firms until the end of 2020.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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