Hungary's government gets emergency powers due to Ukraine war, PM Orban says

Hungarian PM Orban takes the oath of office in the Parliament in Budapest
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban stands before taking the oath of office in the Parliament in Budapest, Hungary, May 16, 2022. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

BUDAPEST, May 24 (Reuters) - Hungary's government will assume emergency powers in order to be able to respond more quickly to challenges created by the war in neighbouring Ukraine, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in a Facebook video on Tuesday.

Orban, who won a fourth consecutive term in an election on April 3, has used the special legal order in the past, once due to Europe's migration crisis and later during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new state of emergency similarly empowers Orban's government to approve measures by decree.

"The world is on the brink of an economic crisis," Orban also said in the video, reiterating that Hungary must stay out of the war in Ukraine and "protect families' financial security."

Orban said his government's first measures would be announced on Wednesday.

Orban's government is having to deal with the consequences of the war in Ukraine, annual inflation of 9.5% and a budget deficit that ballooned in the first quarter due to a pre-election spending spree. He also needs to avoid a marked slowdown in the economy.

Orban, whose nationalist Fidesz party again won a two-thirds majority in parliament in the April election, has gradually increased his powers during his 12 years in office, often drawing criticism from the European Union and rights groups over what they say is an erosion of democratic checks and balances.

Reporting by Krisztina Than; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Chris Reese

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