Fidesz walks away from talks with opposition on election rule changes – UPDATE
Budapest, March 28 (MTI) – The ruling Fidesz group has said it will not debate changing election rules any further, after unsuccessful attempts to reach an agreement with the opposition parties on the planned amendments to procedural rules and rules on campaign financing.
At a five-party meeting on March 9, representatives of the opposition party groups refused to support Fidesz proposals but promised to finalise their position by March 20, according to a statement by Fidesz group leader Lajos Kósa and his deputy Gergely Gulyás on Tuesday.
The opposition Socialists rejected the proposal in its current form and the other groups did not respond by March 20, the statement said.
Any amendments to procedural rules and rules on campaign financing require the support of a two-thirds majority, necessitating opposition support.
In response to criticism, Fidesz initiated the talks on proposed amendments with a view to simplifying rules and enabling more people to vote by mail and to make parties refund their campaign financing if they do not attract genuine voter support.
The Socialist Party in a statement put the blame on Fidesz for “all defects” of the election law, for the ruling party’s “reluctance” to implement comprehensive changes. Referring to Fidesz’s blaming the opposition for a “lack of cooperation”, the Socialists said their party would not be “partner in Fidesz attempts disguised as technical changes to ensure 20,000-30,000 votes (for Fidesz).”
According to the Socialists, Fidesz has made it clear that it would not support rewriting the electoral law or eliminate discrepancies in the electoral procedures law. The Socialists Party rejects “applying just make-up” to the Fidesz-initiated original law, they added.
The green opposition LMP also blamed Fidesz for what they see as a missed opportunity to reform the electoral system. LMP co-leader Ákos Hadházy said in a statement that LMP would support a comprehensive reform, but will not cooperate in “eliminating small, technical defects only” while “fundamental” problems would be left in place in the law, which had been “custom made and forced through (parliament) by Fidesz”.