Carl Schmitt in Hungary: Constitutional Crisis in the Shadow of Covid-19

In: Review of Central and East European Law
Gábor MészárosSenior Lecturer, Department of Legal Theory and Social Sciences, Faculty of Law, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary,,

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This paper discusses the Hungarian constitutionalism and the emergency model which can be called an ‘autocratic’ emergency model in which the government’s main aim is to create an emergency regime without real threat. That was the case in Hungary before 2020, but as the new coronavirus flourished the Hungarian constitutionalism and the rule of law withered. As the article asserts the declaration of the state of danger was unconstitutional because human epidemic is not involved in the listing of the constitution. The constitutional concerns have become even more complicated after the acceptance of the “Enabling Act” which gave unconstrained power for the Government. The spirit of Carl Schmitt’s theory is again emerged. As the coronavirus and its immediate effect necessitated extra-legal measures, the threshold between the rule of law and exceptionalism was fading swiftly and legal constitutionalism became a pleasant memory.

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