On 4 January 2013 Hungary’s Constitutional Court (CC) struck down the most important provision of the electoral procedural law, after president János Áder sent the bill to the CC for a constitutional review. The government has accepted the court’s decision, so a significantly more media-focused campaign than originally envisioned by the governing party is expected. With the voter registration and the campaign ad limitations Fidesz wanted to focus on its core voters in the campaign via personal mobilization, but the current decision means that much bigger emphasis will be put …
With a two-thirds majority in parliament, Hungary’s governing party alliance, Fidesz-KDNP, has created a completely new electoral system. The new electoral law was passed on 23 December 2011, and – among other things – has shifted the system towards the majoritarian principle: The proportion of single-member constituency mandates was increased from 45 percent to 53 percent, and a quite complex compensation mechanism was introduced, which compensates not only the losing candidate’s party but also the winner’s. In addition, the law endowed Hungarian citizens living abroad with electoral rights, reduced the …
With the new electoral procedures act the governing party, Fidesz does its best to increase its chances of winning the 2014 general election with a combination of its heavily eroded voter base with Hungarian residence and non-resident Hungarian citizens. Preliminary registration may discourage a considerable number of unpredictable and disillusioned voters from going to the polls. Opposition parties will face an uphill battle trying to mobilise their potential voter base facing extremely restrictive campaign rules.
As an expected consequence of leading governing party Fidesz’s efforts to improve their 2014 election prospects by administrative means, mandatory registration will be introduced in the new electoral procedural law planned to be passed by November. The new institution is likely to rule out voters who are reluctant to go through the bureaucratic process in time. Even though the text of the act has not yet been published, a remarkably wide range of constitutional lawyers warn that the plans announced can be unconstitutional.
Within the ranks of Fidesz, a growing perception of losing the trust of the public has occurred and confidence about an election victory in 2014 is gradually waning. The party leadership is therefore making efforts to improve the election prospects of Fidesz by administrative means (e.g. redrawing electoral districts in a way that is favorable to the governing party). This notion is further underlined by the proposal of the prime minister to suspend the state funding of political parties, as well as by the plan to introduce the mandatory registration
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When speaking about the extension of right to vote to Hungarians living abroad, Croatia is usually labelled as a model to be followed. With a view to learn more about Croatian experiences, Political Capital asked Professor IVAN KOPRIĆ (Faculty of Law, head of the Study Centre for Public Administration and Public Finances, University of Zagreb, Croatia) and TIJANA VUKOJIĆIĆ TOMIĆ (Lecturer at the Public Administration Study, Faculty of Law, University of Croatia) via e-mail to share their knowledge regarding the issue.
Portuguese daily Público released an article based on Political Capital Institute’s analysis.
The new electoral law shifts the election system towards the majoritarian principle, thereby threatening future election results to become even more disproportional when comparing mandate proportions in Parliament to proportions of votes cast for party lists. The tendency per se can however not be interpreted as an injury to democracy. There are two major aspects of the law that fuel controversy: the suspicion of gerrymandering and the decision to compensate the winner in single-member-constituencies. The latter is a solution unknown to election systems in the rest of the world.
In 2002 and 2006 out-of-country votes had no influence on distribution of seats among Czech parties, however in 2010 one seat moved from one party to the other. MAREK ANTOS, Assistant Professor at Department of Constitutional Law, Faculty of Law, Charles University in Prague answered our questions via e-mail.