Hungary

Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Hungary.

Hungary: Fake Parties, Real Money: Hungary’s Bogus Party Problem | OCCRP

When Hungarians picked up their ballots to vote in April’s national elections, more than half of their 23 choices were parties they’d never heard of.  The familiar players — Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s ruling right-wing Fidesz party and the far-right Jobbik — were there, along with, yes, the Two-Tailed Dog Party, known for its community projects but also for not only promised to fill the capital’s streets with beer to end traffic jams, but also plastered signs around Budapest calling for eternal life plus 20 years for all Hungarians. But what about the “Party for a Sporty and Healthy Hungary,” “Poor People for Hungary,” and “The Party for All Poor People?” Along with 11 more, they have no website, no campaign materials — and no real intention to win votes. They’re called “fake parties,” and they’re not aspiring victory. Hungarian police are investigating some 100 cases of suspected election fraud by parties that appear to have been created shortly before the 2014 elections to cash in on lucrative campaign subsidies. But experts say that those parties aren’t just formed to siphon campaign money. They’re helping Orban cement his hold on power.

Full Article: Fake Parties, Real Money: Hungary’s Bogus Party Problem.

Hungary: Budapest protesters demand recount, new electoral system | The Budapest Business Journal

Tens of thousands of Hungarians demonstrated in Budapest Saturday against the re-elected Fidesz-KDNP coalition led by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Opponents of the government flooded from the Opera House to Parliament to protest at what they say is an unfair electoral system, according to media reports. Orbán won a third straight term in power in elections on April 8 on the back of a strongly anti-immigrant campaign. The incumbent coalition has regained a two-thirds supermajority in the National Assembly, with final results showing that Fidesz and its ally the Christian Democratic Peopleʼs Party (KDNP) won 133 seats in the 199-seat legislature. Opposition protesters complained that Hungary’s electoral rules – a hybrid of first-past-the-post voting and proportional representation – have given the governing coalition such a large majority in Parliament despite it winning only around 49% of the popular vote.

Full Article: Budapest protesters demand recount, new electoral system | The Budapest Business Journal on the web | bbj.hu.

Hungary: Thousands rally against Viktor Orbán’s election victory in Budapest | The Guardian

Thousands of Hungarians protested in Budapest on Saturday against what organisers said was an unfair election system that gave prime minister Viktor Orbán another landslide victory at the polls after a “hate campaign” against immigrants. Orbán won a third term in power after his anti-immigration campaign message secured a strong majority for his ruling Fidesz party in parliament, granting him two-thirds of seats based on preliminary results. In a Facebook post before the rally, organisers called for a recount of ballots, free media, a new election law, as well as more efficient cooperation among opposition parties instead of the bickering seen in the run-up to the vote.

Full Article: Thousands rally against Viktor Orbán's election victory in Budapest | World news | The Guardian.

Hungary: OSCE monitors deliver damning verdict on election | The Guardian

International observers have delivered a damning verdict on the parliamentary election in Hungary, complaining of “intimidating and xenophobic rhetoric, media bias and opaque campaign financing”. The vote on Sunday delivered an overwhelming victory for Viktor Orbán, who will now serve a third consecutive term as prime minister. Orbán and his Fidesz party campaigned almost exclusively on a programme of keeping migrants out of the country. “Rhetoric was quite hostile and xenophobic and that’s a fact which we find regrettable in an electoral context,” said Douglas Wake, the head of the monitoring mission for the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), at a briefing in Budapest on Monday. The observers found that the hostile campaign “limited space for substantive debate and diminished voters’ ability to make an informed choice”. They also noted that public television “clearly favoured the ruling coalition”.

Full Article: Hungary election: OSCE monitors deliver damning verdict | World news | The Guardian.

Hungary: Re-election of Hungary’s anti-immigrant leader is major challenge for EU | The Guardian

It’s a safe bet that few in Brussels are celebrating Viktor Orbán’s resounding win. Elected for a fourth term, Hungary’s anti-immigrant nationalist leader poses a profound challenge for the European Union. Since returning as prime minister in 2010, Orbán and his Fidesz party have chipped away at Hungary’s democratic checks and balances, curbed judicial independence and clamped down on the independent media. Hungary’s democratic backsliding has been accompanied by a drumbeat of xenophobic rhetoric, directed against refugees, Brussels and George Soros. The EU, used to grappling with Brexit, is now confronting a country at the heart of the continent making an exit from the club’s liberal values, but continuing to pick up the cheques.

Full Article: Viktor Orbán: re-election of Hungary’s anti-immigrant leader is major challenge for EU | World news | The Guardian.

Hungary: Orban re-election campaign may be undercut by tactical voting | Reuters

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban leads the polls by a mile, his opposition is a bickering patchwork of smaller parties that won’t coordinate and he dominates the public agenda through his firm grip on the media. Yet there is still a chance – a slim chance – that he could lose his majority on Sunday. That’s because a growing number of voters – guided by widely publicized independent and party-sponsored surveys available online – may be set to discard ideology and party allegiances to vote for the candidates who are most likely to win. “Voters might actually do what these parties fail to do, which is vote for the candidate who has the best chance,” Csaba Toth, strategic director of local thinktank Republikon Institue.

Full Article: Orban re-election campaign may be undercut by tactical voting.

Hungary: Election to Test Political Sway of Immigration Issue | Wall Street Journal

The election ads were both urgent and familiar: If residents didn’t vote for Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s party, Europe would be swamped with migrants. Pushed in billboards and Facebook ads, the campaign fell flat during local elections in this small town in the Hungarian heartland, once fiercely loyal to Mr. Orban, who built barbed-wire fences to keep out migrants at the height of Europe’s 2015 refugee crisis. “I am tired of this topic,” said pensioner Zoltanne Egressy, among the 58% of voters who backed the opposition at the polls in February, delivering a shock defeat to the internationally renowned politician on his home turf. “There is nobody at the border!”

Full Article: Hungary Election to Test Political Sway of Immigration Issue - WSJ.

Hungary: ‘Ghettos and no-go zones’: Hungary’s far right fuels migrant fears ahead of vote | The Guardian

Nobody in Miskolc can say with certainty that they have ever seen a migrant or a refugee in the city. A few residents think they might have seen one or two people back in 2015 but cannot be sure. Others say their friends have seen migrants in the streets but admit they have not seen any themselves. And yet, in this city of 160,000 inhabitants in north-east Hungary, a fierce election campaign is under way in which there is one overriding issue being discussed ahead of the vote on 8 April. It is not the recent series of corruption scandals involving government officials and vast sums of money. Nor is it the depressing state of local healthcare or low wages. It is migration. The tone for the election in Miskolc – as across the country – has been set by Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán, who is seeking to win a third consecutive term on a far-right platform of sealing Hungary’s borders to migrants.

Full Article: 'Ghettos and no-go zones': Hungary's far right fuels migrant fears ahead of vote | World news | The Guardian.

Hungary: Disunity and Gerrymandering Frustrate Anti-Orban Voters | The New York Times

In Budapest 1, a parliamentary district at the heart of the Hungarian capital, most voters will not support the party of Viktor Orban, the country’s far-right prime minister, in a general election on April 8. Yet as things stand, Mr. Orban’s party, Fidesz, will hold on to the seat — and its huge majority in Parliament. That speaks as much to the relative strength of Mr. Orban’s base as it does to his gerrymandering and his allies’ takeover of most private news outlets. But it’s also because Hungary’s gaggle of small left-liberal opposition parties, who collectively form a majority in seats like this one, refuse to join forces behind a unity candidate.

Full Article: In Hungary, Disunity and Gerrymandering Frustrate Anti-Orban Voters - The New York Times.

Hungary: Orban suffers setback as opposition wins tightly contested mayoral race | New Europe

Hungary’s ruling right-wing nationalist party Fidesz suffered an unexpected setback at the weekend when its candidate for mayor in the southern city of Hodmezovasarhely was defeated in a closely watched contest. The liberal opposition-backed independent candidate, Peter Marki-Zay, had 57.5% of the vote over Fidesz’ Zoltan Hegedus, who captured 41.6% of the electorate. Election officials said turnout was significantly higher than last round of parliamentary elections in 2014, with 62.4% of eligible voters in Hodmezovasarhely having cast a ballot.

Full Article: Hungary’s Orban suffers setback as opposition wins tightly contested mayoral race.

Hungary: Orban embarrassed by refugee vote turnout | Deutsche Welle

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s failed referendum against EU refugee quotas brought him harsh attacks at home and dismissal abroad. Orban suffered a stinging domestic rebuke to his anti-refugee campaign on Sunday, when his pet referendum drew just 40 percent of eligible voters, rendering the plebiscite invalid. At least 50 percent turnout was needed. Still, more than 98 percent of those who cast a ballot supported Orban’s anti-refugee stance. Toth Csaba, an analyst at the Republikon Institute in Budapest, called the results a failure for a prime minister who put considerable resources into swaying public opinion ahead of the plebiscite. “It’s more of loss for the government,” Csaba said. “Expectations were very high, and the government put forth a massive spending campaign to support it.” Orban had called the referendum to boost his political standing at home – and to taunt Brussels and Berlin over a program that has been essentially discarded. Last year the European Union announced plans to introduce a system to distribute more than 1 million migrants among member states.

Full Article: Hungary: Orban embarrassed by refugee vote turnout | News | DW.COM | 03.10.2016.

Hungary: Low turnout invalidates Hungary ballot on EU refugee quotas | Associated Press

Low voter turnout invalidated Hungary’s referendum on European Union refugee quotas, even though citizens voted overwhelmingly in support of the government’s opposition to any future, mandatory EU plans to relocate asylum-seekers. The government claimed a “sweeping victory,” but analysts said that the result was an “embarrassing but not totally catastrophic defeat” for Prime Minister Viktor Orban. “We can be proud that we are the first and so far only member state of the European Union” to hold such a referendum, Orban told supporters after the results were known. “Hungarians were able to give their direct opinions on the issue of immigration.”

Full Article: Low turnout invalidates Hungary ballot on EU refugee quotas - The Washington Post.

Hungary: Refugee Vote May Boost Orban’s Power in Divided Europe | Bloomberg

Prime Minister Viktor Orban is asking Hungarians to reject quotas for the settlement of refugees in a referendum that may solidify his power at home and boost his leverage in an increasingly divided Europe. Polls show overwhelming support for a “no” vote backed by Orban, leaving turnout as the main hurdle for the premier, who needs at least 50 percent participation to make the referendum binding. The question on the ballot is “Do you want the European Union to be able to order the mandatory settlement of non-Hungarian citizens in Hungary without parliament’s consent?” European leaders have sought to show unity this month after a tumultuous year for the region, with the biggest wave of refugees since World War II and the U.K.’s vote to leave the EU tearing at the seams of the bloc. Orban has been the staunchest opponent of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door policy and he may use the vote to showcase support for his zero-immigration approach. The Hungarian prime minister is also looking to harness political momentum before parliamentary elections in 2018, where he’ll seek a third consecutive term.

Full Article: Hungarian Refugee Vote May Boost Orban’s Power in Divided Europe - Bloomberg.

Hungary: National Election Office: 18 percent of mail-in ballots spoiled in Hungarian referendum | Hungarian Free Press

Hungary’s National Election Office has processed 32,254 mail-in ballots for the Sunday  referendum against EU-wide “migrant quotas” and has deemed that 18% of them (5,708) were spoiled by voters. Hungarians living abroad and holding dual citizenship are eligible to vote by mail-in ballot, but thus far only 28% of the 274,573 registered voters have chosen to participate in the October 2nd referendum. The National Election Office will continue to both receive and process mail-in ballots on Thursday and Friday, but participation among those who live abroad and hold dual citizenship is far below the 50% +1 threshold. It’s hard to tell if the large number of spoiled ballots are deliberate, or merely an indication that Hungarians living abroad are not completing their voting packages as per the National Election Office’s instructions. It takes several steps to cast a valid mail-in vote. Voters must complete a declaration form with their name, date of birth and other personal information, and must include this form alongside their completed mail-in ballot, but must not place it together with their ballot into the small white envelope (which goes into the larger self-addressed and stamped envelope) that voters have been provided.

Full Article: National Election Office: 18 percent of mail-in ballots spoiled in Hungarian referendum.

Hungary: Days before referendum, Amnesty criticizes Hungary over treatment of migrants | Reuters

Amnesty International on Tuesday accused Hungary of mistreating refugees and migrants on purpose to deter them from seeking to cross into the European Union from Serbia, days before the country holds a referendum on EU migrant quotas. The Hungarian government had no immediate comment on the report in which the human rights organization accused Prime Minister Viktor Orban of replacing “the rule of law with the rule of fear.” Critics say Hungary has been heavy-handed in answer to the migrant crisis that saw about 1.3 million people reaching the European Union last year. Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said Hungary should be expelled from the bloc for breaching European values, including erecting a razor-wire fence along its border with Serbia.

Full Article: Days before referendum, Amnesty criticizes Hungary over treatment of migrants | Reuters.

Hungary: Hungarians Caught Between National Referendum And European Union Migrant Quotas | Eurasia Review

Europeans have not talked so much about European affairs as they have since the summer of 2016. After the clap of thunder generated by Brexit, another storm is building up and heading towards Brussels. Indeed, another European Union (EU) member state is speaking out against EU politicians, leading to a situation seen equally as the EU attempting to defy the sovereignty of its member states and vice versa. In just a matter of weeks Hungary will hold a referendum on October 2, with ruling fight-wing Fidesz asking Hungarians if they accept the migrants relocation mechanism created by the European Commission under the head of Jean-Claude Juncker. It is no surprise that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who is generally described as a populist and constantly on the outlook for scapegoats, uses the tool of referendum to legitimize its decisions rather epically. Marine Le Pen, leader of the French National Front, also announced that she would be consulting the French volk more often if she would be elected in the 2017 presidential election.

Full Article: Hungarians Caught Between National Referendum And European Union Migrant Quotas – Analysis – Eurasia Review.

Hungary: Referendum on EU migrant quotas to be held on 2 October | Associated Press

Hungary will hold a government-initiated referendum on Oct. 2 seeking political support to oppose any European Union efforts to resettle refugees among its member states, the office of President Janos Ader said Tuesday. Ader’s office said that the question to be asked in the referendum will be: “Do you want the European Union to prescribe the mandatory settlement of non-Hungarian citizens in Hungary even without the consent of Parliament?” Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who staunchly opposes immigration, said earlier that a “no” vote would be “in favor of Hungary’s independence and rejecting the mandatory settlement plan.” 

Full Article: Hungary to hold referendum on EU migrant quotas on 2 October - The Malta Independent.

Hungary: Fidesz widely dominates municipal voting | Associated Press

Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party was the clear winner in Sunday’s nationwide municipal elections, with its candidates winning the mayor’s post in Budapest, the capital, and in 20 of Hungary’s 23 largest cities. Speaking to supporters after preliminary results were announced, Orban vowed to “make Hungary great” in the upcoming years and boasted of winning elections for the third time this year, after victories in the national elections and for the European Parliament. The far-right Jobbik, trying to distance itself from earlier anti-Roma and racist statements, finished mostly far behind Fidesz but ahead of the left-wing opposition in most rural areas. Jobbik won in nine smaller cities, up from three in 2010.

Full Article: Hungary's Fidesz widely dominates municipal voting - Fairfield Citizen.

Hungary: The 2014 Hungarian parliamentary elections, or how to craft a constitutional majority | Washington Post

Last weekend’s parliamentary elections in Hungary should have been a major event, at least within the European Union and the United States. Over the past four years the E.U. and the United States have criticized the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán for its authoritarian, conservative and nationalist tendencies. These were institutionalized in the new constitution, which the government rammed through the toothless Hungarian parliament, in which the national-conservative Fidesz-KDNP party coalition held a constitutional majority. Scores of domestic and foreign observers have highlighted the many problematic parts of the constitution, although very little has been changed as a consequence of these critiques. But these are not ordinary times. The United States is preoccupied with the situation in Ukraine, while the E.U. is crippled by the lingering economic crisis and fears of an anti-European backlash in European elections next month. As a consequence, the Hungarian elections received little special attention from the E.U. and U.S. elite, despite widespread fears that another victory for Orbán, dubbed the “Viktator” by domestic critics, could lead to permanent damage to Hungary’s still-young liberal democracy.

Full Article: The 2014 Hungarian parliamentary elections, or how to craft a constitutional majority.

Hungary: Legal But Not Fair | New York Times

Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz party coasted to a clear victory in last weekend’s Hungarian election, as expected. The governing party got 45% of the vote, but the new “rules of the game” turned this plurality vote into two thirds of the seats in the parliament. A continuing two-thirds parliamentary majority allows Orbán to govern without constraint because he can change the constitution at will. But this constitution-making majority hangs by a thread. Orbán’s mandate to govern is clear because his party got more votes than any other single political bloc. What is not legitimate, however, is his two-thirds supermajority. Orbán was certainly not supported by two-thirds of Hungarians – nowhere close. In fact, a majority gave their votes to other parties. Orbán’s two-thirds victory was achieved through legal smoke and mirrors. Legal. But smoke and mirrors.

Full Article: Legal But Not Fair (Hungary) - NYTimes.com - NYTimes.com.