How does Parliament function?

The most important task of Parliament is lawmaking. The institution is comprised of Members of Parliament elected by Hungarian citizens for a term of four years (for details, see "The Electoral System"). The Hungarian Parliament is a house of representatives, meaning that the decisions by Members of Parliament elected by the people are made in the name of the entire community, and therefore these decisions are binding on all citizens. The Fundamental Law states that the supreme body of popular representation shall be the Parliament.

Legislation is not the only activity which falls within Parliament’s remit, however. In democracies, the guiding forces – or so-called ‘branches of government’ (the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary) – are distinct from each other, the purpose being that they can monitor one another. In this way, a situation can be avoided in which one person or organisation arbitrarily assumes power. It is for precisely this reason that one of the important roles of Parliament, acting as the legislative branch, is to oversee the actions of the Government, or executive branch.

DownloadHungary's Parliament

Parliament’s mandate shall commence with its inaugural session and be terminated by the inaugural session of the next Parliament. The inaugural session shall be convened by the President of the Republic within thirty days of the elections. The sessions of Parliament shall be open to the public. Parliament may decide to hold a closed session at the request of the Government or any Member of Parliament, if approved by MPs with a two-thirds majority. Parliament shall set down its rules of operation and procedural order in its House Regulations, which must be adopted by a two-thirds majority of members of Parliament present. Parliament shall elect the Speaker of the House, Deputy Speakers of the House and Clerks from among its members.

Parliament shall have a quorum if more than half of its Members are in attendance at a given session. Unless otherwise provided for by the Fundamental Law, Parliament shall make decisions by a simple majority of votes of members present. Certain decisions may be subject to a qualified majority under the House Regulations.

Parliament may declare its dissolution. The President of the Republic may dissolve Parliament and simultaneously announce elections if, when the Government’s mandate ends, Parliament fails to elect the person proposed by the President of the Republic to serve as Prime Minister within forty days of presentation of the first nomination, or if Parliament fails to adopt the National Budget for the current year by 31 March. The new Parliament shall be elected within ninety days of the voluntary or mandatory dissolution of the previous Parliament.

When does Parliament meet?

Parliament does not meet throughout the entire year, but holds two sessions-a-year, from 1 February to 15 June, and from 1 September to 15 December. In extraordinary circumstances (e.g. an emergency), Parliament may be recalled with immediate effect.

What are the Parliament’s most important duties?

The most important duties of Parliament are adoption of the Constitution, the creation of legislation, the adoption of the Budget and the supervision of its implementation, and to oversee the functioning of the Government. Further responsibilities include the adoption of the Government’s programme and the election of the Prime Minister. The Parliament elects the President of the Republic, the members and President of the Constitutional Court, the President of the Curia, the Supreme Prosecutor, the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights and his or her deputies, and the President of the State Audit Office. In addition, Parliament is responsible for the approval of Hungary’s main international treaties, decisions on declarations of war and peace treaties, declarations of states of emergency, and the official announcement of national referenda.