Buying opposition candidates? Making a mockery of the next elections

The recent extended discussion on voter registration among readers of Hungarian Spectrum centered around a comparison between the American and the Hungarian system. Indeed, there is registration initiated by the voter in the United States, in part because there are no official domicile records. In Hungary, at least until now, the government took care of keeping the list of eligible voters. The election committees compiled the list from domicile records which, by the way, will still be available after the introduction of registration. So introducing the extra step of registration is not only unnecessary but most likely is intended as a deterrent to voter participation. As Fidesz politicians were reported having said, registration would cull the less well informed and the less committed.

The introduction of voter registration is  the reason for the hunger strike staged by Ferenc Gyurcsány and his three fellow DK politicians. But since the beginning of the hunger strike new information has reached the public about further government plans that would make the next elections even less fair for the non-Fidesz forces.

Fidesz originally wanted to make it more difficult for smaller parties to enter the race. In the past, a candidate had to gather 750 endorsements. That meant that the candidate had to go from door to door asking for people’s endorsements. Fidesz’s first proposal included raising that number from 750 to 1,500. LMP candidates in 2010 had a very difficult time collecting even 750 endorsements. After some reflection, however, the Fidesz strategists decided that completely abolishing the system would make  more sense from the party’s point of view.

The media’s initial reaction was favorable since there were serious privacy issues involved in the practice of endorsements. After all, the endorser had to give details about himself and reveal his party preference. It was also a time consuming job and people had enough of candidates from different parties bothering them for their signatures. But what is coming in its place will cast a very dark shadow on the fairness of the next elections.

Crowd Spree by rogers / flickr

Until now the government provided the parties with a small amount of money for campaign purposes. The amount was meager: 2 million forints (€7,100) per candidate. But at least the money went into the party’s budget and it was the parties that picked the candidates in the various electoral districts and put together the party lists. Now, the campaign assistance from the government will go to the individual. Any Tom, Dick, and Harry will be able to set himself up as a valid candidate as long as he manages to get one hundred signatures from family and friends.

The purpose of this idea is quite obvious: to dissipate the forces of the opposition by “buying candidates” to run and thus increasing the chances of the well organized and disciplined Fidesz. Népszabadság recalled what happened at the minority elections in 1994 in a southern Baranya County village, Alsószentmárton. The village by now is inhabited almost exclusively by poverty-stricken, unemployed Roma. The government announced that every candidate would receive 2,000 Ft for campaign purposes. Alsószentmárton had 1,100 inhabitants and 370 of them announced that they intended to run. In those days a family could buy enough food for 5-10 days on that amount of money.

Most Fidesz politicians immediately grasped the significance of this new system. One of them “with a sardonic smile” quoted Mao Zedong’s famous saying, “Let a hundred flowers bloom.” A Fidesz mathematical genius, however, claimed that this new system wouldn’t favor his party because even if there are many candidates on the left, they all will take votes away from Fidesz.  In the new system, of course, a simple relative majority will be enough to declare someone the winner. Origo claimed that Fidesz would make a bazaar (zsibvásár) out of the elections.

As for voter registration, it has already been decided that registration will begin on September 1, 2013 for the 2014 elections and that the registration period will end two weeks before the date of the elections which will be held sometime in April.

The couple of positive changes–for example, the introduction of absentee ballots and abolishing the totally useless two-day campaign silence–unfortunately pale in comparison to the restrictive nature of a totally unnecessary registration procedure and the quite obvious attempt at fragmenting the opposition by paying off “candidates” on taxpayer money for the benefit of the ruling party.

Under these circumstances the debate on the possible boycott of the next elections might not be a complete waste of time.

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Guest

London Calling!

“………..As Fidesz politicians were reported having said, registration would cull the less well informed and the less committed.”

By not making the registration mandatory (which would of course defeat Fidesz’s little game) they leave themselves vulnerable to a unified boycott of the registration process.

We have already discussed the difficulty that opposition parties have had forming a united opposition – mainly over policies and strategies

It will be a whole lot easier to unite against a mechanism – the registration mechanism.

If the opposition unite en masse then they can make a real mockery of the elections. Hungary and Orban will be ridiculed.

As Is said in your earlier post Eva:

Kim il Orban here I come!

Regards

Charlie

Guest

London Calling!

On a related topic – WSJ on Transparency International’s analysis of Hungary’s political financing.

http://blogs.wsj.com/corruption-currents/2012/09/14/hungarys-political-financing-problems-drive-corruption-issues/

I believe you may already know about this Eva!

Regards

Charlie

Member
The Orban governments hunger for personal data goes beyond imagination. First you have to have a permanent address. They will even give you a card. Now the voter registration that is preceded with a pre-registration to registration. That’s right they will mail you a form just to state that you will want to register to vote later. Now there is another thing that Tappanch mentioned in the yesterday’s comments. There is a something called the Civil Protection Agency (Polgari Vedelem). Something like the FEMA in the US, some sort of emergency or disaster management agency. It belongs to the Ministry of Interior. The Orban government wants to register every citizen to theoretically serve in this agency, to be called on duty like a reservist should there be a need for it. Guess what! They started to mail forms (yes you guessed it) to register. They also want to know where you work what do you do and what is the address of your employer. This registration is mandatory if you ignore it you’ll be fined or locked up. All this a year before the voter registration. By the way can somebody tell me this? Isn’t it against the constitution to… Read more »
Member

Dear Mutt,

The Constitution was abolished on January 1, 2012.

There is now a “Basic Law” with supplementary “sarkalatos” (fundamental) laws plus the fuzzy “Historical Constitution” of 1222-1944 that can be used as a jolly joker in case of need.

Member

Law # CXXVIII / 2011

“55. § (1) A polgári védelmi kötelezettség az adatszolgáltatási, a bejelentési, a megjelenési kötelezettséget és a polgári védelmi szolgálatot foglalja magában.”

“86. § (1) E törvény 52–66. §-ai, 71–72. §-ai és a 174. § (1) bekezdése az Alaptörvény XXXI. cikk (5) bekezdése alapján sarkalatosnak minõsülnek.”

In translation, you are obliged to provide all the info the authorities demand from you, you are obliged to report for duty and perform the duty and this law declared itself “sarkalatos”, i.e. part of the Fidesz “constitution”.

petofi
Guest

tappanch :
Law # CXXVIII / 2011
“55. § (1) A polgári védelmi kötelezettség az adatszolgáltatási, a bejelentési, a megjelenési kötelezettséget és a polgári védelmi szolgálatot foglalja magában.”
“86. § (1) E törvény 52–66. §-ai, 71–72. §-ai és a 174. § (1) bekezdése az Alaptörvény XXXI. cikk (5) bekezdése alapján sarkalatosnak minõsülnek.”
In translation, you are obliged to provide all the info the authorities demand from you, you are obliged to report for duty and perform the duty and this law declared itself “sarkalatos”, i.e. part of the Fidesz “constitution”.

That jokester, Orban, has hoisted another anachronistic anomaly on the legal structure of the country…for no other reason than to confuse. This law about ’emergency service’ sounds like we’re back in the 13th or 16th century expecting the attacking hordes.

What do we owe uncle Orban (ie. uncle Stalin) for worrying over us?

i1848
Guest

The Varga interview reveals an ultra-racist idiot, who abuses the privilege of living in the free USA, which will be hopefully less revolutionary, and more civil in Mormon style soon.

The Varga types have been tolerated by the new and old conservative Hungarians in the new Hungary . This volatile FIDESZ/Jobbik/Kuruc/Turul coalition is a danger to the civil nation.

Like in Iran, naive splintered progressive forces changed the regime, only to deliver it on a silver tray to the extremists.

Can Hungary escape the extremists? Hardly!

petofi
Guest

i1848 :
The Varga interview reveals an ultra-racist idiot, who abuses the privilege of living in the free USA, which will be hopefully less revolutionary, and more civil in Mormon style soon.
The Varga types have been tolerated by the new and old conservative Hungarians in the new Hungary . This volatile FIDESZ/Jobbik/Kuruc/Turul coalition is a danger to the civil nation.
Like in Iran, naive splintered progressive forces changed the regime, only to deliver it on a silver tray to the extremists.
Can Hungary escape the extremists? Hardly!

Very unlikely to escape extremism with guys like Schiffer Andras around skewering any attempt at a joint opposition. Man, did he give himself away, or what?
So, next we have Orban taking his leave–‘and thanking
you all very much…this Felcsutian will now depart the scene”–circa some months late in 2013….resulting in
some quick amalgamation of Jobbik and Fidesz with lovely Jobbik in the driver’s seat and then…Extremism,
here we come!

(And then, as we used to say during the Cuban Crisis, you can bend over and kiss your ass good-bye.)

spectator
Guest

As Mr.Varga the winemaker from the USA mentioned how the police harassed him in Hungary, I remembered another such individual I’ve met. He was an expat too, escaped from Hungary, because “the communists persecuted” him.
After a few drinks I’ve learned, that the story almost true, after all.
Well, almost.
He wasn’t actually persecuted, but prosecuted – he fled from criminal prosecution, being a thief, steeling and fencing gods from the company he worked to, (to my surprise he was actually proud of this: being clever!!!) and yes, the policeman was a communist.
At least, he didn’t posed as a “freedom fighter”, after all…

No, I won’t say that Mr.Varga have done the same, far from it, only intended to call attention to take such stories with a pinch of salt, as they say.
OK, take two..!

Member

spectator :
He wasn’t actually persecuted, but prosecuted – he fled from criminal prosecution, being a thief, steeling and fencing gods from the company he worked to, (to my surprise he was actually proud of this: being clever!!!) and yes, the policeman was a communist.
At least, he didn’t posed as a “freedom fighter”, after all…

These guys are all the same. Most of these turul trash have a rap sheet. I just stumbled upon the Facebook page of Tamas Sneider, one of the JOBBIK’s deputy (sometimes you can be really surprised who is the friend of your friends). This guy also has an impressive criminal record which is of course a “freedom fight” in their vocabulary. He got suspended prison term for racially motivated assault and battery and he was also arrested in 2006 during the siege at the radio to mention a few. The best is this: “he supported the truth and Saddam Hussein during the first Iraq war”. Read the “about” section if you read Hungarian:

https://www.facebook.com/sneider.tamas

Member

These guys like Varga, they should have been smacked in the head with a frying pan by their Mama when they joined these extremist gangs. Like this:

http://gawker.com/5942280/tom-hanks-tells-awesome-michael-clarke-duncan-anecdote-at-green-mile-co+stars-funeral

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