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European rights watchdog urges Hungary to postpone vote on disputed amendments to constitution

Europe's main human rights watchdog is asking Hungary to postpone the approval of a series of constitutional amendments so legal experts can review the changes.

Council of Europe President Thorbjorn Jagland said Wednesday that the amendments set to be voted on next week by Hungarian lawmakers may be incompatible with European legal principles.

Jagland objected to, for example, the reintroduction into the Constitution of transitional provisions struck down last year by the country's Constitutional Court.

Such a move, Jagland says, "might endanger the fundamental principle of checks and balances in a democracy."

Without directly rejecting Jagland's request, Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Fidesz Party said the amendments complied with European principles and that Jagland's objections "are based on a clear misunderstanding."

Orban's government has imposed several measures alarming to rights activists.