Budapest, July 21 (MTI) – With the exception of one minor detail, the Constitutional Court approved the new rules governing the election of the Budapest city council, on Monday.
The top court scrutinised the law at the initiative of opposition deputies, who criticised the legislation, which eliminated the earlier system of councillors being directly elected, and which is seen by the opposition as one violating the principle of equal voting rights.
Monday’s ruling upholds stipulations passed by parliament on June 10 that the mayor of Budapest as well as 23 district mayors and nine councillors from compensation lists will make up the city assembly.
The top court, however, threw out the method of calculating votes for the nine councillors from compensation lists.
Ruling Fidesz welcomed the decision and interpreted the ruling as the top court’s approval to the presence of district mayors in the municipal assembly, which is “not only right but in line with the constitution, too”. In a statement, Antal Rogan and Gergely Gulyas, the party’s group leader and deputy group leader, respectively, said that the law was applicable even without the annulled passages stipulating a different calculation of the votes.
The opposition Socialist Party called the ruling unacceptable. Municipal group leader of the party Csaba Horvath insisted that the ruling would help Fidesz “score far better in Budapest than its public support would ensure”. In his statement, Horvath interpreted the decision as “the fall of the last fortress of democracy” and suggested that “the judges abiding by the constitution are now in a minority within the top court”.
Radical nationalist Jobbik said it did not approve but would respect the ruling. Jobbik vice chair Elod Novak said that his party would seek an amendment of the legislation after the upcoming municipal elections.
The E-PM party alliance said the election law, even without the annulled passages, would continue to serve Fidesz’s interests.
E-PM co-leaders Gergely Karacsony and Viktor Szigetvari said that the law curbed the representation of Budapest’s citizens and equal voting rights, and ensured exclusive benefits for Fidesz.
Szabolcs Kerek-Barczy of the opposition Democratic Coalition said the biggest losers suffering the consequences of the top court’s decision would be the residents of Budapest because the election for the city council would not be equal and fair.
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