Election law in Hungary

Hungary’s election law has been a major headline in non-Hungarian publications this year, beginning with political commentary leading up to the April 6 election, and now with analysis of what may have contributed to the results.

The Economist offers a decent summary of the controversies and results here. You can read the Reuters article here.

Hungarian flag on Parliament building, Budapest

In brief, the incumbent (and now re-elected) PM Viktor Orbán, in cooperation with the Hungarian government, has introduced major changes to the Hungarian Constitution over the last four years, including changes to the electoral system and voter zoning. These last changes, which reduced the overall number of seats in Parliament and instituted a one-round election process (cut down from two rounds), have been called gerrymandering by a large opposition.

The opposition continues to fight the changes in the electoral system and the results of the April 6 election. Others are just happy that the far-right (racist) party Jobbik only managed to place third in terms of seats in Parliament, with the Socialist party sneaking past for second place.

Since I’m not a Hungarian citizen, nor am I Hungarian by birth or blood, it’s not my place to comment on these facts. I have Hungarian friends who are furious about the results, and I have Hungarian friends who are indifferent or satisfied with the results.

The important thing is to note the research that shows that Orbán likely wouldn’t have won the election using the previous arrangement of the election system—even though the new system is similar to one suggested by international bodies that felt the old system wasn’t sufficiently transparent. Monitors of the election considered it fairly conducted, but voiced reservations about the fairness in light of the legal changes that took place.

What legal/political events have occurred in your source-language country lately? How have changes in law affected it? Did you know about this major Hungarian event?



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