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Citizenship Abroad: Hungary

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

If you’re anything like us, you may have been too busy following the happenings in Iowa and New Hampshire to really have time to look at citizenship happenings abroad. If so, the recent demonstrations in Budapest, Hungary, would be one thing to catch up on.

As we’ve noted before, the ongoing economic crisis in Europe is producing strenuous tensions between the rule of law, democratic ideals, and the need to seriously address the economic situation. Enter Hungary.

According to the New York Times, shortly after New Year’s Day, “tens of thousands of Hungarians rallied outside the nation’s 19th-century opera house […] in a rare opposition protest of what critics see as a campaign by Prime Minister Viktor Orban to undermine democracy and consolidate his power.”

The protesters, numbering between 30,000 and 70,000, were concerned about the new constitution that took effect on January 1 that, combined with at least 350 laws passed in the last two years, consolidated more control in the hands of the ruling government and threatened the independence of the central bank. This latter development had many investors worried as well, and threatened further loans by the IMF–and all this coming after debt rating agencies Moody’s Investors Service,  Standard & Poor, and, most recently, Fitch Ratings  had lowered the country’s rating in the past few months.

Business Week has ongoing coverage of Hungary’s credit and economic situation, and the New York Times provides a good overview for those playing catch-up.