Hungary’s Elections Will Be Fair and Legitimate

2014-04-05 08:15:52

Gergely Gulyás
Hungarian Review
It is not, of course, as if the Left has regarded Hungary’s electoral system as immutable.

„It is worth taking a look at the facts: how has the Hungarian electoral system changed? In the past all the parties have spoken spoke eloquently about the need to significantly reduce the number of seats in Parliament, but this remained nothing but an empty promise until 2010. As far as ordinary voters are concerned the only truly perceivable change will be that the elections will consist of a single round. Even that will not represent a huge change due to the increasing number of first-round victories in individual constituencies where the winning candidate obtains more than 50 per cent of the vote, one third of the country’s constituencies in 2006 and in two thirds in 2010.

It is not, of course, as if the Left has regarded Hungary’s electoral system as immutable. In 1994, the ruling socialist-free democrats coalition which enjoyed a two-third majority in parliament, introduced single-round elections in municipal elections at six weeks’ notice, thereby leaving no time at all for the opposition to prepare. This time, for the 2014 parliamentary elections, the government announced the change two and a half years in advance.

Moreover, all of the other changes are moderate as regards their overall effects. The ratio of mandates obtainable in constituencies increased from 46 per cent before (176 constituencies in a Parliament with 386 seats) to 53 per cent (106 mandates out of 199). This modest switch of emphasis to a more majoritarian system has been introduced in the interests of stability.

It is a recurring accusation that the new constituency boundaries were drawn with a view to the interests of the current governing parties. On top of this – the left-wing criticism continues – the boundaries were not determined by some independent body but were passed by Parliament as an appendix to the electoral legislation.

The current opposition is inclined to forget that the constituency boundaries had to be re-drawn not only because of the radical reduction in the number of parliamentary seats. It would have been inevitable even if no such change were occurring. This is because in 2011 the Hungarian Constitutional Court invalidated a Decree from the last, pre-1990, Communist Council of Ministers, on the grounds that the system was disproportionate and it also ruled that the new boundaries must be defined in a Law.”

Az eredeti, teljes írást itt olvashatja el.