In a vote that has been opposed by the EU, the US and human rights groups the Hungarian parliament on Monday adopted legislation that critics say will shackle the constitutional court.
It has been one of the few institutions to oppose Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has managed to get round many of the checks and balances limiting his and his Fidesz party’s grip on power. His critics point to laws they say undermine media, central bank and judicial independence.
The opposition boycotted the vote, but Orban insists his super-majority gives him a mandate to overhaul a constitution he claims is a hangover from Communist rule.
Black flags hung from windows near the parliament, and protesters were out in force again after big demonstrations over the weekend, and more are planned, but the opposition is weak and divided.
Orban dismisses the international criticism, saying it has been whipped up by multinational big businesses angry at “crisis taxes”, and foreign electricity firms being forced to cut prices.