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Hungary Table of Contents



The theoretical foundations of Marxist-Leninist constitutions differ from those underlying Western, democratic constitutions. The latter are fundamentally prescriptive: they define a set of political relations between government and people that ought to exist. By contrast, Marxist-Leninist constitutions attempt to reflect reality by describing an existing set of political relationships. As these political relationships evolve over time, the regime alters the constitution to reflect these changes. The Hungarian Constitution serves several political purposes. It attempts to mobilize the populace in support of the regime's goals. The Preamble of the Constitution formally calls upon the people to promote the construction of socialism and communism. In addition, the Constitution demands that the most loyal sections of the population advance the regime's goals through greater efforts and initiative. The Preamble also offers justifications for the regime's existence by describing the historical past that led to Marxist-Leninist rule.

The Constitution does, however, bear some similarity to democratic constitutions. Like Western constitutions, the Hungarian Constitution establishes the rights and duties of the citizenry, although it devotes more attention to the latter than democratic constitutions. In addition, the Constitution specifies the institutions of government and the relations among them. It is, however, much more detailed in this regard than most democratic constitutions.

The Constitutional Law Council, formed in 1983, has some power to enforce observance of constitutional principles. The council, a fifteen-member body subordinate to the National Assembly, monitors decrees, laws, and resolutions issued by government bodies to ensure their conformity with the Constitution.

Data as of September 1989