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March 11, 2013

Hungary's PM pushes change in constitution

Amendment approved despite widespread protest.

Demonstrators march along the Szechenyi quay in protest against the planned Fourth Amendment of the Basic Law in Budapest, Hungary, 09 March 2013. EPA/ZSOLT SZIGETVARY

A controversial constitutional amendment that would put into law several policies previously deemed unconstitutional by the country's highest court was passed by Hungary's Parliament on Monday. The amendment includes provisions on family law, student grants, and the courts. Thousands in Hungary, including many students, protested against the changes this weekend. Prime minister Viktor Orbán and his ruling Fidesz party were also criticised by the EU and the United States for the amendment, which they say violates democratic principles. Despite the controversy, the amendment passed with 265 in favour, 11 against and 33 abstaining.