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Hungary's controversial fourth amendment

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Hungary's parliament on Monday approved a fourth set of controversial changes to the constitution, a number of which have previously been struck down by the country's constitutional court.

Here follow the principal elements:

1 - The constitutional court: Hungary's top court can now only review and judge future constitutional amendments on procedural grounds, not on their content.

It will also no longer be able to void a law endorsed with a two-thirds parliamentary majority and enshrined into the constitution.

2 - The president: The head of state can no longer veto a constitutional amendment approved by parliament on grounds of content, only on procedural grounds.

3 - The constitution now defines a family as a "marriage between man and woman", with or without children. The constitutional court had ruled in December that this was "too narrow" a definition that would potentially discriminate against other forms of relationship.

4 - Education: The operations of schools and universities now come under much closer government control.

University and college students who receive state grants will be contractually obliged to stay and work in Hungary for a period of time after graduation. This was an invalid restriction, the court ruled in July.

5 - Homelessness: Local authorities will have the right to prohibit homeless people sleeping in public spaces, but will be obliged to provide alternative shelter -- the court ruled in November that the ban would infringe human rights.

6 - Religions: A religious community's status as an official religion is decided by parliament, which does not have to explain its decision. In February the court ruled however that the decisions would not be transparent and could be open to abuse.

7 - Elections: Political party campaign advertising will be restricted to government-controlled media only, prohibiting campaigning on commercial channels -- the court ruled in January that this was an unnecessary restriction.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130311/hungarys-controversial-fourth-amendment