Hungarians Stage a Fast Over Rules for Voters

2012. szeptember 17. 9:00

Stephen Castle
New York Times
The dispute seems arcane, but in Hungary the passions behind it are running high — high enough that a former prime minister has begun a hunger strike over it.

„The immediate issue is a proposal to start requiring anyone who wants to vote in an election to register at least 15 days in advance, a practice followed in many other countries. Opponents claim that it would give the ruling party a big advantage and would be vulnerable to manipulation.

The hunger strike is a vivid symbol of the passions stirred by the policies of Mr. Orban, the charismatic leader of the center-right Fidesz party and onetime anti-Communist campaigner, who has been accused of concentrating too much power in the hands of his supporters.

Ferenc Gyurcsany, the former prime minister from the Democratic Coalition who began his public fast with three colleagues on Sunday, is a controversial figure himself, not least because of a voice recording that surfaced in 2006 in which he is heard saying that he and his party had lied to voters about the economy to win an election.

Developments in Hungary have highlighted the fact that, though the European Union can wield significant influence over a country when it is applying to join, and can oblige the applicant nation to adopt reforms, it has much more limited leverage once the nation is admitted.”

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