Due to the opposition’s irresponsibility, several measures taken to combat the virus will cease to have effect. At the Wednesday cabinet meeting, the government will seek to find a solution to the problems arising from this, the Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office said at a press conference held in Budapest on Tuesday.

Gergely Gulyás mentioned as an example that the deadline for closing down the border to vehicles and foreigners arriving from multiple specified countries will expire on Friday. The closure of higher education institutions and the ban on travel abroad for military personnel, health care workers and civil servants will also expire on the same day. The court recess will expire on Monday, while the decision that mayors have the authority to order the extraordinary suspension of creche and nursery school services will likewise cease to have effect.

The politician stressed that as on Monday the opposition had not voted for the urgent debate of the bill on measures serving to contain the coronavirus in departure from the normal House Rules, they would only be able to pass the legislation on Tuesday, at the earliest. He said it is the duty of the government to minimise the damage caused by the opposition and to seek to find a solution to the problem of expiring measures if at all possible.

Mr Gulyás also highlighted that in the past 24 hours a number of untrue claims had been made regarding the content of the motion. Additionally, based on the conduct they manifested on Monday, “we have reason to presume” that attempts will be made, with the opposition’s cooperation, to spread further lies about the proposed legislation on the international scene, he said.

He said it is an untrue claim that the special legal order instated without a time limit could lead to the cancellation of elections. He also drew attention to the fact that the dates of parliamentary and municipal elections are provided for in the Fundamental Law, from which the government cannot depart even during the effect of a special legal order.

The duration of the state of danger is determined by the government; however, those submitting the bill suggested that Parliament should decide on the time when its maintenance is no longer required. With this, the proposed legislation decreases, rather than increases the government’s powers, the Minister stated.

Máté Kocsis, leader of the Fidesz parliamentary group said on Monday opposition parliamentary groups had decided not to support a crucial proposal. Instead of parliamentary parties standing together, the opposition “started playing a very petty, very hypocritical and very false political game,” he said.

He stressed that they had conducted several seven-party consultations regarding the matter. At the first one, the opposition did not raise any objection to the wording of the motion, but a few days later they changed their minds. They came up with demands which convey enormous risks, he added. He observed he was concerned that the opposition had become trapped “in the bubble and opinion drift operating with rather dishonest methods” which could be associated, among others, with attorney György Magyar and organisations that wanted to see themselves as influencers. The opposition should decide who should be in Parliament because it would be easier “to send in those who actually make the decisions,” he said.

They accepted several demands of the opposition, including that Parliament should hold its sittings in the Upper House room, and the conditions of necessity and proportionality – which should be natural – were incorporated into the wording of the bill at their request, he said. Regarding the time limit suggested by the opposition, he pointed out that no one is able to tell at this point whether Parliament will be able to operate in sixty or ninety days’ time.

He stressed that there is a continued need for cooperation and united action because, as expected, Parliament will debate the proposed legislation at the beginning of next week, and a vote will be held on Tuesday. The passage of some points of the motion is subject to a two-thirds majority, and in the midst of an epidemic no one can tell whether the government coalition will have a sufficient number of MPs, he pointed out.

In conclusion, he said it is extremely hypocritical that while Parliament did not grant the government a continued mandate, at the same time, Mayor of Budapest Gergely Karácsony had introduced “rule by decree” in Budapest where the Metropolitan General Assembly was not even in session. In answer to a question, he said the Mayor of Budapest quite evidently likes the situation where he does not even have to bother with the little control exerted over him by the majority in the general assembly. In his words, this is not independent of the fact that there is “brutal in-fighting” in the metropolitan Left, and Gergely Karácsony could now gain a competitive advantage.

Mr Gulyás said answering a question that those EU Member States have introduced a complete ban on exports, and have seized and redirected goods intended for other countries which continually talk about the importance of Europe.

In answer to another question, he said the government is unable to extend its former decisions online. He added that if they resorted to this solution, Anett Bősz now sitting in DK’s parliamentary group, the very person who suggested it and her party “would scream the loudest”. Parliament itself is unable to function online because the Fundamental Law makes mention of attending Members of Parliament, he said.

Mr Kocsis added he is convinced that Anett Bősz had never even seen the bill.

Mr Gulyás was also asked about fake news and rumours spreading in the press. He pointed out that criticising the government or the containment effort is not a punishable crime. At the same time, claims made before the wider public which create panic in society – for instance, if someone disseminates fake news such as that Budapest will be placed on lockdown or that “everyone will die” – must be punished.

The extension of different maternity entitlements concerns 15,000 families monthly, and the cost of this measure – depending on its duration – could amount to somewhere around ten billion forints. He also mentioned that the debt repayment moratorium will leave HUF 3,000 billion with families this year, and they have extended it to the end of the year so that this amount of money could emerge in the economy before the end of the year.