Hungarian parliament votes to let Viktor Orban rule by decree in wake of coronavirus pandemic

Hungary’s parliament has voted to allow Prime Minister Viktor Orban to rule by decree in order to combat the coronavirus pandemic, giving the populist leader extra powers to unilaterally enact a series of sweeping measures.

The bill, which has been criticized by international human rights watchdogs, includes the possibilities of a parliamentary suspension, punishments for journalists if the government believes their coronavirus reporting is not accurate, and heavier penalties for violating quarantine regulations.

No elections or referendums will be able take place while the order is in place.

The bill was approved in parliament on Monday, with 138 votes in favor and 53 against. The bill required a two-thirds majority to pass.

This is a developing story.