Budapest, September 21 (MTI) – Representatives of Jobbik and the green opposition LMP met on Wednesday to discuss potential amendments to Hungary’s election system.
The talks centred on the enforcement of the principle of proportionality, the laws pertaining to postal voting and the campaign finance law.
LMP co-leader Ákos Hadházy told reporters after the meeting that having a separate set of rules for Hungarians voting abroad and guaranteeing naturalised citizens a 10-year right to vote in elections counted as election fraud.
Hadházy said an election was only democratic if all of its participants had agreed to its rules. But this can only work if everyone in the opposition takes the matter seriously, he said. Hadházy , at the same time, rejected the suggestion that by saying this, LMP was offering a coalition alliance to other parties.
He criticised the rule that bars Hungarians working abroad from voting by mail, as naturalised ethnic Hungarians are allowed to. He also said the current election system did not adhere to the principle of proportionality, arguing that there was a large gap between parties’ vote shares and the number of seats they obtain in parliament.
Hadházy also criticised the campaign finance law under which he said government subsidies that were handed out to “shell parties” in 2014 could not be refunded.
Jobbik deputy group leader Dóra Dúró called the talks constructive and agreed with Hadházy that the election system distorts the allocation of parliamentary seats. Parliament should reflect the true will of the voters, she said.
Dúró said Jobbik would propose to the other parliamentary parties tying the suffrage to those who have completed their general education and obtained the relevant qualifications. She said this would not be an entirely new concept in Hungarian law, arguing that pursuing a driver’s licence also requires the completion of general school.
She also proposed expanding the list of crimes that bar the right to vote. Jobbik mainly wants to include violent recidivist offenders on this list, she said.
Dúró said she had suggested to Jobbik’s national board that the party should initiate lowering the voting age to 16 with a view to better encouraging young people to be active in public life.
Ruling Fidesz later said that the meeting between LMP and Jobbik had demonstrated that the two parties “do not take into consideration democratic norms”. Their calls for amendments to the election system are aimed simply at thwarting the Oct. 2 referendum, Fidesz said in a statement. The party said it was “unacceptable in a democracy” to amend the election law right before a referendum.