Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/743

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Constitution and Government.

I. Central and Provincial Government.

The Constitution of the eastern part of the monarchy, or the kingdom of Hungary, including Hungary Proper and Croatia-Slavonia, dates from the foundation of the kingdom, about 891. The first charter or con- stitutional code is the 'Bulla Aurea ' of King Andrew II., granted in 1222, which defined the form of government as an aristocratic monarchy. The Hungarian Constitution has been repeatedly suspended and partially disregarded, until, at the end of the armed struggle of 1849, it was decreed to be forfeited by the nation. This decree was repealed in 1860 ; and the present sovereign, on June 8, 1867, swore to maintain the Constitution, and was crowned King of Hungary.

The Hungarian Parliament (Orszaggy Tides) has legislative authority for Hungary, and for Croatia and Slavonia in matters which concern these provinces in common with Hungary. It consists of an Upper House (Forendihaz) and a Lower House (Kepviselohaz).

The House of Magnates, reformed by an Act passed in 1885, now includes the archdukes who have attained their majority, hereditary peers (the members of 213 noble families) paying at least 3,000 fi. a year land tax ; those Hungarian princes, counts and barons, if of age, whose families obtained the right of hereditary jjcerage from the King, or, if not Hungarian subjects, from the legislature ; 44 archbishops, bishops, and other digni- taries of the Roman Catholic and Greek Churches ; 12 ecclesiastical and lay representatives of the Protestant Confessions ; life peers appointed by the Crown not exceeding 50 in number ; life peers elected by the Upper House ; 17 members ex officio, being State dignitaries and high judges ; and lastly, 3 delegates of Croatia-Slavonia. In the session of 1898 the number of archdukes was 18, and there were 228 hereditary peers holding the property qualification ; and 79 life peers appointed l)y the Crown or chosen by the House of Magnates.

The Lower House or House of Representatives of Hungary is composed of representatives of the nation, elected by the vote of all male citizens, of 20 years of age, who pay a small direct tax on house property or land, or on an income varying with occupation ; but in all cases low. Certain large classes — professional, scientific, learned, and others — are entitled to vote with- out other qualifications. The number of the electorate, according to the last returns, was 891,732, or 1 in 18 of the population. New elections must take place every five years. By the electoral law now in force, the House of Repre- sentatives consists of 453 members, of whom 413 are deputies of Hungarian towns and districts, and 40 delegates of Croatia and Slavonia.

Members of the Lower House receive 2,400 florins (200/.) a year, with an allowance of 800 florins (66Z. 13^.) for house rent.

The Parliament is summoned annually by the King at Budapest. The language of the Parliament is Hungarian ; but the representatives of Croatia ami Slavonia may speak their own language.

The executive of the kingdom is in a responsible ministry, consisting (January 1898) of a president and nine departments, namely : —

The Presidency of the Council. — Baron Desiderius Bdnffy ; appointed January 15, 1895.

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