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BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Hungary’s ruling party lawmakers want to postpone next week’s parliament session, which means a further delay in its ratification of Finland and Sweden’s NATO admission, an opposition party lawmaker said on Tuesday.

Agnes Vadai, of the leftist Democratic Coalition, said in a Facebook post she had received a letter from Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjen informing her that the ruling Fidesz and the Christian Democrats want to postpone the session which would have started on Monday.

Sweden and Finland applied last year for membership of the transatlantic military alliance after Russian forces invaded Ukraine. All 30 NATO members must ratify the applications, and Hungary and Turkey have held back their approvals.

The Hungarian parliament’s house committee was due to decide on next week’s agenda on Thursday. Based on Vadai’s comments, parliament could convene again only on March 27.

Parliament’s press office declined comment. The ruling Fidesz party was not immediately available for comment.

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Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party has said it intends to back the ratification, but last week a Fidesz lawmaker Csaba Hende said he would still need to work more to address concerns some of his fellow parliamentarians have.

Hungary’s ratification process has been stranded in parliament since July, and in February Orban accused Finland and Sweden of spreading “outright lies” about democracy and rule of law in Hungary.

(Reporting by Krisztina Than; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.

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