Hungarians handed their maverick Prime Minister Viktor Orban another four years in power, election results showed on Monday, while one in every five voters backed a far-right opposition party accused of anti-Semitism. Orban has clashed repeatedly with the European Union and foreign investors over his unorthodox policies, and after Sunday’s win, big businesses were bracing for another term of unpredictable and, for some of them, hostile measures. But many Hungarians see Orban, a 50-year-old former dissident against Communist rule, as a champion of national interests. They also like the fact that under his government personal income tax and household power bills have fallen. After 96 percent of the ballots were counted from Sunday’s parliamentary vote, an official projection gave Orban’s Fidesz party 133 of the 199 seats, guaranteeing that it will form the next government.Full Article: Hungary re-elects maverick PM, far-right opposition gains | Reuters.
Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Hungary.
The Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) has asked for a written guarantee that the software which will aggregate the results of next weekend’s election is safe from any outside tampering. According to HVG, party MP Ferenc Baja put forward the request on Wednesday, when the National Elections Office (NVI) gave a closed-door briefing on the functioning of the software. NVI director Ilona Pálffy promised to present the results of an audited test of the system on Tuesday. The portal also noted that the NVI had planned to hold a public demonstration of the software the previous Friday, which apparently failed to take place. Members of the opposition have repeatedly voiced concerns in recent weeks about the software, pointing out that under previous Socialist-Liberal (MSZP-SZDSZ) governments the was in place and subject to public demonstrations 90 days before elections.
Hungarians residing permanently outside their country may help Viktor Orban score a higher win in this year’s parliamentary election after they were given the right to vote. Mr. Orban is headed for a second consecutive term in power. His Fidesz party won the 2010 election in a landslide. Its two-thirds majority in the country’s parliament has allowed it to push through at-times controversial legislation, including a change of electoral rules that allows Hungarian minorities in other countries to vote in national elections. Depending on the turnout in Hungary, their votes could be decisive, experts agree. So far, only those with a permanent residence in the country could vote at the elections, casting their votes at embassies. Legislation by the current government extended voting rights to those without a permanent address in Hungary.Full Article: Foreign Hungarian Voters May Tilt Outcome at General Elections - Emerging Europe Real Time - WSJ.
Hungary will hold parliamentary elections April 6, when the country’s combative Prime Minister Viktor Orban expects to win a second consecutive term in power. The sooner Hungary’s new government is in power, the smoother the country may continue to draw on vital European Union funds, President Janos Ader said in a release, in which he listed the reasons for setting the poll for the earliest date possible under the election law. The election will pit Mr. Orban against Socialist party head Attila Mesterhazy, whose candidacy is pending the undoubted seal of approval from a Socialist party congress Jan. 25. According to Mr. Orban, the election is about whether voters want to preserve the government’s massive utility price cuts in the face of strong objections and lobbying in Brussels by large multinational companies. Mr. Orban would most likely regard an election victory as a validation of his heavy-handed nationalist policy, which caused strains in relations with the EU in his first four-year term.Full Article: Hungary Sets Parliamentary Election Date - WSJ.com.
The opposition Socialist Party has called on the government to request the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe to send observers to ensure the transparency of Hungary’s general and European Parliamentary elections next spring. Socialist lawmaker Tibor Szanyi said his party suspected that the ruling Fidesz party was “ready to perpetrate election fraud in all 11,000 constituencies nationwide”. Szanyi insisted that at least 1,000 OSCE observers would be needed, one for every 10 polling stations.Full Article: Socialists call for international election observers | Politics.hu.
A landmark ruling by a United Nations body found that Hungary’s voting laws are disenfranchising people with disabilities, Human Rights Watch said today. The ruling applies to all 137 countries that have adopted the international disability rights treaty. These governments are required to review their laws and practices to eliminate any provisions that prevent people from voting due to their disabilities. The UN Committee on the Rights of People with Disabilities, the panel of experts who interpret the international disability rights treaty, ruled that Hungary’s restriction on the right for people with intellectual disabilities to vote violates international human rights law. Under the recently amended Hungarian constitution, people under guardianship are automatically excluded from voting unless a judge determines they have the capacity to vote. The ruling said that any exclusion of the right to vote on the basis of “perceived or actual disability,” whether as a general rule or following an individual assessment, was discrimination in violation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Instead it said governments were under a duty to ensure all people with disabilities could exercise their right to vote, including in the way they design voting procedures and in providing assistance where necessary.Full Article: Hungary: Change Discriminatory Voting Laws | Human Rights Watch.
The three political parties in Hungary’s parliamentary opposition appear to be upset with the ruling Fidesz Party’s choice of candidate for the country’s next president. According to party statements on Tuesday, the opposition is considering boycotting the May 2 president elections to protest Fidesz stalwart Janos Ader’s candidacy. However, a boycott would be little more than symbolic since Ader is likely to be voted by a two-thirds majority in parliament. “Full Article: Hungarian Opposition May Boycott Presidential Election.
Ethnic Hungarians should vote on individual candidates rather then party lists in Hungary’s next general election, national daily Magyar Nemzet said on Friday, citing Parliamentary Speaker Laszlo Kover as saying.
“I would prefer Hungarian citizens living abroad to send individual deputies to Hungarian Parliament,” Kover said recently at a youth camp, organised for ethnic Hungarians in Szentendre near Budapest. The MPs delegated this way should be independent politicians, he added.Full Article: House speaker promotes ethnic Hungarian vote for individual candidates | Politics.hu.
Constituencies in the future will be based on a new system of geographical districts to be introduced in 2013, daily Magyar Hirlap said on Monday quoting a draft ministry programme.
In line with the Magyary programme of the Ministry of Public Administration and Justice, districts will replace subregions from 2013. Hungary will be divided into 150-250 districts in the new public administration system and according to the paper, it would be logical to have each district elect an MP.Full Article: Election law to be adjusted to public administration districts | Politics.hu.
An important component in the renewal of the Socialist Party is reconsidering its nation policy, deputy head of the party Andras Balogh told a press conference on Thursday, adding that his party approved of ensuring easy citizenship access for ethnic Hungarians, but would not consider granting voting rights “an integral part” of the process.
Balog said that the government’s efforts to seek closer ties with Hungarians in neighbouring countries and re-unite the nation should also involve reducing differences within the country’s borders.Full Article: Socialists approve of dual citizenship, object to voting rights | Politics.hu.
Over the weekend, Hungary’s governing party Fidesz proposed a mixed, single-round parliamentary election system instead of the current two-round one, immediately attracting huge public outcry.
The governing party, which has a sweeping majority in parliament, is in the process of revamping the country’s public sector. This spans from changes in the administration to cutting red tape to simplifying the election system. Part of the latter effort is a plan to eventually decrease the number of parliament members to 200 from the current 386.Full Article: Hungary Proposes Single-Round Election - Emerging Europe Real Time - WSJ.
Hungary’s governing party plans to cut the number of lawmakers from 386 to 200, abolish the second round of voting and end the system of compensating for votes cast for runner-up candidates.
Fidesz proposes introducing a single-round election system featuring both individual candidates and party lists, MEP János Áder said on Saturday. Áder, whom Fidesz asked to coordinate the drafting of the new election law to be approved this year, told reporters about plans to field half the number of lawmakers from individual constituencies and the other half from national party lists.Full Article: Fidesz may cut number of lawmakers and introduce single-round elections | The Budapest Business Journal on the web | bbj.hu.
Hungary: Mixed electoral system to remain in Hungary, number of individual constituencies, rounds undecided | Politics.hu
It is almost certain that a mixed electoral system will be maintained in Hungary, and the debate within the ruling Fidesz-Christian Democrat alliance now only concerns the number of individual constituencies and the number of election rounds, Magyar Nemzet daily said on Wednesday.
Fidesz deputy leader Lajos Kosa confirmed to the paper that the governing coalition would submit a bill to parliament on a new election law in the autumn that stipulates a mixed electoral system – a blend of individual voting districts and national lists.
It has also been decided that Hungarian citizens living abroad will have the option to cast their ballots for a single national list representing Hungary as one constituency, Kosa said.Full Article: Mixed electoral system to remain, number of individual constituencies, rounds undecided - Politics.hu.