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Abstracts (PSz, 2017/1., 193-204. o.)

Zoltán Szente: The major characteristics and institutions of the early estate assemblies

The study describes the key features of the early (13[th] and 14[th] century) estate assemblies. In doing so, it defines the concept of medieval parliaments, and presents the most important conditions and circumstances of their development. The paper tries to answer the question of why these representative institutions emerged in the late Middle Ages only in Europe. Then, it explores the causes which led to the establishment of estate assemblies in the different countries. The author examines also the main principles and theories of medieval representation, as well as the most important functions and powers of the early representative assemblies. Also describes the models of stratification in feudal society, in so far as it determined the structure of the medieval parliaments, with special reference to the classical theory of the German legal historian Otto Hintze, who linked the structure of early estate assemblies and even the political development in the subject countries to the historical traditions of the various medieval monarchies. Finally, the study describes the most general features of the early parliamentary procedures.

Keywords: estate assemblies, parliaments, representation, Middle Ages, institutional history

Zoltán Szente Research Chair, Professor of Law, HAS Centre for Social Sciences, Institute for Legal Studies; National University of Public Service, Faculty of Political Sciences and Public Administration, Department of Constitutional Law,

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Richard Szentpéteri Nagy: Forms of state and government

The essay underlines the importance of a clear distinction between different terms, such as forms of state and forms of government, whereas declines the distinction between different types or forms of state and goverment, such as constitutional and parliamentary monarchy or presidential republic. Despite common usages of these terms, the essay argues that, in most cases, some of the widely used terms make, in fact, little sense and do not add to our common knowledge of parlamentary and presidential systems, as well as our perceptions of monarchies and republics today. The essay, therefore, makes an attempt to search ways to avoid such difficulties with emphasising the character of the commonly used terms, arguing that some of them, indeed, fail to characterize the phenomena they intend to describe. Considering the problems some scientific terms may couse, this essay proposes to alter a few of the old phrases with new ones in order to develop a more coherent doctrine of political and governmental systems and a better understanding of the world of constitutional democracy and government.

Keywords: Monarchy, republic, constitutional, parliamentary, presidential

Richard Szentpéteri Nagy Assistant lecturer, National University of Public Service,

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Ágnes M. Balázs: Family voting and sustainability

Family policy is an important policy area in Hungary nowadays. During the process of drafting the new Constitution of Hungary, the idea of the so-called "family voting" emerged. That means that the parents of children could have cast additional votes at parliamentary elections according to the number of their children or parents could have cast one additional vote, with no respect to the number of their children. It could be solved in a way that children would have suffrage from the time of their birth and one of their parents could cast a vote instead of them until they come of age. This issue is disputed in the German scientific literature as well. Authors supporting this institution allege that the so-called family voting would be in favour of sustainable development or sustainable democracy. Balázs Schanda shares the same opinion. In one of his writings on family voting and sustainable democracy he argues that family voting would support sustainable development. Authors having the same opinion share the presupposition that people having children are more far-seeing than people with no children. In this paper it will be examined in the context of rational choice theory whether "family voting" could support sustainable development or not. We not only use game theory models to support our hypothesis but also use the concept of net present value. It also comes at stake whether family voting would be in favour of sustainability of democracy or not.

Keywords: suffrage, family, sustainability, sustainable democracy, sustainable development

Ágnes M. Balázs PhD Student, National University of Public Service, Faculty of Political Sciences and Public Administration,

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Marcell Melles: The recent amendment to the Rules of Procedure of the Slovak National Council and its background

The National Council of the Slovak Republic has been facing various challenges pertaining to its dignity since the parliamentary elections held in 2010. The new political actors introduced a new style in the political arena, not only on the streets of Slovakia, but during the plenary sessions of the National Council of the Slovak Republic too. The politician representing this new wave is Igor Matovič himself, turning the thinking on how to behave in the plenary room upside down. The consequences of his stance are manifold.

Since the disturbances became continuous, the new Speaker of the National Council of the Slovak Republic came up with the idea to introduce stricter rules on the behaviour of the MPs. As the consultations between the political groups in the National Council of the Slovak Republic did not have any chance to reach a conclusion, the Speaker and the representatives of the governing parties submitted the draft bill by August 2016. Proposals to amend the bill by MPs of the governing parties slightly changed the text; however, the original aims remained intact. Now all the new paragraphs are in force, so the representatives of the National Council of the Slovak Republic are facing a new era: if their behaviour does not comply with the new rules, they may be subject to fines imposed by the resolution of the plenary session, which may exceed the whole amount of their salary as a representative.

The purpose of this article is to summarise what were the reasons behind the draft bill, what arguments the stakeholders had and what kind of consequences has the adopted rules. It is also important to introduce the legislative procedure of the National Council of the Slovak Republic to the extent needed, otherwise one can have difficulties to understand the milestones of the process. The experiences we already have in the Hungarian National Assembly and the lessons from what happened in the National Council of the Slovak Republic give us the chance to start thinking over the desirable manner in parliaments and regulations needed to reach the purpose in a wider context. It is clear, that even those, who opposed the proposed amendments, have some arguments that are worth to be considered.

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