Country Listing

Hungary Table of Contents


Constitution of 1949

In June 1948, the Hungarian Workers' Party (on November 1, 1956, renamed the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party--HSWP) sought to legitimate the fundamental changes that had taken place in the state, the economy, and the society and directed the government's Council of Ministers to begin work on a constitution. The Council of Ministers formed a Drafting Committee, which submitted a proposed Constitution on August 5, 1949. The National Assembly ratified the Constitution on August 20, 1949, thus making a new national holiday that coincided with the traditional holiday of the feast of Saint Stephen.

The regime modeled its Constitution on the 1936 "Stalin" constitution of the Soviet Union. As of the late 1980s, its basic features remained in effect, although the regime added important amendments in 1950, 1953, 1954, 1972 and 1983. The 1949 Constitution contained a sociopolitical program dictated by the Soviet Union and listed the achievements of Hungary's "people's democracy" (see Rakosi's Rule , ch. 1). The government, with its ministerial system, collective presidency, and powerless legislature, resembled the Soviet system of the Stalinist period. The Constitution also created the local council system and new kinds of judicial institutions, and it laid the groundwork for the country's system of public prosecutors (see State Apparatus , this ch.). Only Chapter IX, which described the national flag and coat of arms, had a specifically Hungarian character.

Data as of September 1989