a) Hungary / b) Constitutional Court / c) / d) 16-06-1998 / e) 27/1998 / f) / g) Magyar Közlöny (Official Gazette), 52/1998 / h) CODICES (German).
Keywords of the Systematic Thesaurus:
Constitutional Justice - Jurisdiction - The subject of review - Parliamentary rules.
Constitutional Justice - Jurisdiction - The subject of review - Failure to act or to pass legislation.
General Principles - Equality.
Institutions - Legislative bodies - Composition - Election of members.
Institutions - Legislative bodies - Political parties.
Institutions - Legislative bodies - Status of members of legislative bodies.
Keywords of the alphabetical index:
Party fractions, minimum ceiling / Mandate, free.
A provision of the Standing Order of the Parliament, according to which 15 Members of the Parliament can form a party fraction, is unconstitutional. While the current electoral laws are in force, MPs who are members of a party which received at least 5% of the votes cast nationally have the right to form a party fraction regardless of the fact that the Parliament determines a higher ceiling to form a fraction. Forming a parliamentary fraction of such a party requires that number of MPs which the party in question has at the time of the Parliaments’formative session.
According to the Constitutional Court, Parliament created an unconstitutional situation by failing to guarantee that MPs who are not members of any party fraction can be members either of a permanent or an ad hoc committee. The Court therefore called upon Parliament to meet its legislative obligation by 1 September 1998.
The Court emphasised that the basis of the operation of the Parliament is the free mandate of the representatives and the organised activities of the political parties within the Parliament. The parties of the Parliament can perform their duty, i.e. mediating the will of the people, with the help of the party fractions. The Standing Order of the Parliament should handle the political parties of the Parliament equally. Therefore the parties which received at least 5% of the votes cast nationally, on party lists, should have the right to form a party fraction.
The decision of the Constitutional Court also declared that a group of MPs which belongs to one of the parliamentary parties in a broader sense, despite the fact that the members of this group of MPs were elected from an individual constituency, also has the right to form a party fraction if the number of these MPs is equal to the number required by the Parliament to form a fraction. The Court emphasised that the contested provision of the Standing Order of the Parliament, under which 15 representatives can form a fraction, is unconstitutional not because of the number of representatives the Standing Order requires, but because the Standing Order did not take into account the minimum ceiling fixed by the Electoral Law. Where candidates were elected from a party list, the constituents voted for the candidates of a party. The Standing Order should therefore take into consideration that the party promoted by the constituents has a special legal status. The current decision pointed out that Parliament can determine the number of representatives which is required to form a parliamentary fraction in many ways. Parliament for example can determine the minimum ceiling according to the number of the smallest party which has received at least 5% of the votes. Parliament can also bestow the right to form a parliamentary fraction for a party which does not have the number of parliamentary representatives required by the Standing Order.