Fidesz Yields to Constitutional Court and "Common Sense"

2013. január 7. 9:00
Travis LaCouter
Paprika Politik
Fidesz decided to end its controversial push for voter registration, which is arguably the party’s most significant concession since it was elected to a two thirds majority in Parliament in 2010.

"The majority opinion, which was primarily authored by Justice István Stumpf, a former minister in the first Orbán government, and was supported by all but the five recent Fidesz appointees, held – most importantly – that requiring voting registration from Hungarian citizens who already have their addresses registered by the state is an unnecessary restriction of voting rights. The Court opined that the requirement for citizens whose addresses are not registered (e.g. in the case of those who live permanently or temporarily outside of Hungary, those who would like to vote for candidates on the minority lists, and those seeking assistance for voting) is nevertheless reasonable.

The Court argued that 'At the 1990 free parliamentary elections and ever since, voters living in Hungary have been able to exercise their right to vote without the requirement of active registration. This system of voting has become a constant part of the electoral procedure. If Hungary had not had a system of personal and residency registry similar to the current one, and the only way to guarantee the exercise of voting rights would have been to require citizens to pre-register to vote, then the Law in question could be adjudicated otherwise. (…) Only substantial reasons can be regarded as legitimate to apply restrictions. With a well working, operational voting registry (that Hungary already has), we do not find any such legitimate, substantial reasons to introduce active voter registration.'

The Court also pointed out that it seems contrary to common sense that people would have to register themselves to vote by submitting their name, mother’s name, and personal ID number which the state already has in the national residency registry but it would not require submitting their place of residence, which is the basis upon which they would vote. The Court noted the law’s circular notion that the information submitted during pre-registration would have to be checked against the national residence registry for place of habitation (in order to know which voting district the citizen would belong to) when the argument for replacing the current system was that the registry contains inaccurate information.  Also, voting districts have to be drawn well before the registration requirement would have ended, so, as the Court pointed out, the registration requirement could not have served the purpose of making the system more proportional, as the government argued."


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