Hungary’s parliament on Tuesday passed changes to the funding of parties’ parliamentary groups and adopted an asset declaration system in line with that of MEPs.
The proposals were adopted with 135 votes in favour and 45 votes against.
From January 1, the basic funding for operational costs will be disbursed to party lists rather than individual parliamentary party groups. In the case of joint lists, funding will be divided evenly among the party groups running on the list.
Party group funding is linked to the wages of lawmakers, with party groups receiving 10 times lawmakers’ allowance in operative costs every month, currently 13 million forints (EUR 32,000). Joint lists will get 17 times the monthly wage of lawmakers, or 22 million forints (EUR 55,000), every month.
Further, party groups will also receive funding according to the number of lawmakers in their rows.
Fidesz group leader Mate Kocsis, one of the authors of the proposal, said the regulation would cut 3 billion forints from leftist parties and 2 billion from right-wing ones. “Parliamentary groups should be funded according to the will of the voters,” he said.
Lawmakers also voted to change MPs’ annual asset declarations to align the system with those of MEPs. In future, deputies will not be required to indicate real properties, valuable possessions, or savings, only revenues and holdings.
Before August 5 each year, deputies will be required to report on their positions in the three years before they won a mandate, as well as paid activities outside parliament generating revenues exceeding an annual 2 million forints. The declarations will indicate the subject’s membership or position in businesses, as well as any role in a business which may have any political relevance.
New members of parliament will be required to make a declaration within 30 days of taking their oath of office.
Family members of deputies will not be required to make their assets public.
The president of the republic, members of the Media Council, the head and deputy head of the Audit Office, the ombudsman and their deputy, as well as members of the Constitutional Court will also be required to make the same declaration as deputies.
At its Tuesday session, parliament also changed house rules under which deputies quitting a parliamentary group will have the opportunity to join another rather than becoming an independent. Political parties will be required a minimum of 5 seats to set up a group as opposed to the current 3. Should the group be reduced below 5 members, the group will be terminated.