Attestations of electoral fraud in Hungary

I think we can be quite sure that the next election will be stolen by the government party. There are just too many signs of planned fraud. We’ve already talked about the problems in the electoral law itself: the election procedures were set up in such a way that the forthcoming election might be free, in the sense that most people (though not all) will be able to vote, but it is certainly not going to be fair. Every day there are more and more signs that Fidesz is not taking any chances. They are using everything in their arsenal to thwart the chances of the opposition.

A few days ago I wrote about the absence of election posters for the United Opposition even as Fidesz and Jobbik posters are abundant. Surfaces reserved for campaign advertisement are owned by Viktor Orbán’s most influential and richest friend, Lajos Simicska, who claims that all available space is already taken. Interestingly enough, while the democratic opposition has neither the money nor the opportunity to advertise, Jobbik seems to have both. Moreover, there are no limits whatsoever on advertising by so-called “civic groups.” One such group, Civil Összefogás Fórum, is the creation of Fidesz, financed either by the party or by the government or perhaps by both.

State television and radio bombards the population with government propaganda. One of the major commercial television stations, TV2, keeps running the paid government ad: “Hungary is performing better,” which incidentally is also the slogan Fidesz uses. TV2, for those who are keeping track of Fidesz’s ever growing media empire, was just purchased by a mystery owner who, many suspect, is Zsolt Nyerges, a business partner of Lajos Simicska. The other large commercial station, RTL Klub, opted not to air any campaign ads because, according to the new regulations, they would have had to run them as a public service–that is, without remuneration.

I also mentioned earlier that parties were forbidden to put posters on electric poles. Although the Kúria found that decision unconstitutional, the father of Gergely Gulyás, the bright young legal star of Fidesz, a lawyer himself, challenged the ruling. To reach a final ruling will take weeks if not months. Meanwhile politicians can’t use the electric poles or, if opposition politicians do, Fidesz activists tear them down.

Foreigners visiting the country remark that this is the oddest election campaign they have ever encountered. There are large billboards bragging about Hungary’s great performance, but otherwise a casual visitor to Hungary would never know that the election is only a few days away. A billboard advertising Fidesz’s candidate for the premiership is the oddest of all. No orange, the color of Fidesz, can be seen, only a Hungarian flag in the background with Orbán’s picture with the following words: “prime minister of Hungary.” Clearly the message is that he is more than a party leader seeking reelection; he is the prime minister.

And then there are the small parties whose sudden appearance was greeted with a great deal of suspicion in opposition circles. Although some reporters seemed to know people who witnessed the illegal exchange of signatures among the smaller parties so they could achieve the desired number of candidates, no eyewitness stepped forward. That is until yesterday when a brave soul, an undergraduate who volunteered his services to the Magyarországi Cigánypárt (MCP), decided to tell all. Bertram Marek claims to know about at least five parties that cheated in the gathering of necessary signatures: MCP, KTI (Közösség a Társadalmi Igazságosságért), JESZ (Jólét és Szabadság), SZAVA (Szabad Választók Pártja), and the Party of the Greens. KTI is Katalin Szili’s party, Jesz is a party built on the ruins of MDF. Katalin Szili, earlier an MSZP politician, is indignant and charges her former political allies with “having visions of cheating.”

Source: www.mno.hu

Source: www.mno.hu

Practically all organizations connected to the government are involved somehow or other in the cheating that is going on. For example, the post office. Attila Mesterházy sends out campaign literature to the citizens urging them to attend the large gathering that was planned for March 15, but they get it only three days later, on March 18. Local papers published by the municipalities don’t allow opposition candidates any space to air their views. The same is true about municipal television stations.

The chief prosecutor’s office is doing its best to leak information on the Gábor Simon case which may not be altogether accurate. Simon is being kept in jail where most likely investigators are trying their best to get him to implicate one or more of the opposition leaders just before the election. The strategy of leveling corruption charges against members of the opposition worked well in 2010 (it mattered not that the charges were unfounded) and Fidesz seems confident that it will work again in 2014. The Parliamentary Committee on National Security has been called together, and the Fidesz majority insists on a hearing to investigate Attila Mesterházy three days before the election. Perfectly timed.

The dissembling campaign mentality seems to permeate everything these days. Members of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe arrived in Budapest to talk to government officials and party politicians, but when they announced that they would like to talk to some opposition members, they were sent to the wrong address.

And finally the foreign vote. Several people I know have been unable to register. A friend of mine who lives in the DC area and who has voted dutifully every four years in the Hungarian Embassy in Washington will for the first time not be able to cast a vote. She tried to register online but never received an answer.

Then there are those who are eligible to vote by mail. A friend in the United States received his ballot and was told that his return envelope requires no postage. Well, I wonder how many of these envelopes will actually end up in Budapest. The envelope doesn’t even have the necessary information for the US Postal Service in English. Only in Hungarian and French! He very wisely added postage and wrote “Hungary” on the envelope. He even discussed the matter with the postmaster who confirmed his suspicion that the US Postal Service will not process international letters with a “no postage required” label.

This is a scandal. I almost hope that Orbán’s machinations will result in “overachievement.”  Figures that are unbelievable, results that more closely resemble the electoral outcomes of  Belarus than those of truly democratic countries. Perhaps then the EU will wake up.

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
steve397
Guest

Amazing! Orban’s tactics are ensuring that that the elections prove that “Fidesz jobban teljesit” or whatever their slogan is. Europa Erwache !

Paul
Guest

Will anyone outside Hungary notice, or even care?

tinshed
Guest

I received my voting papers yesterday and was surprised that I had to fill out a declaration form attesting to who I was. While it was separate from the actual voting paper, you could imagine someone looking at both the voting paper and the declaration form. Eva, you are right about the envelope too. My wife checked with the Post Office and was eventually assured that the “free postage” would be honored, although this didn’t stop us both writing “Hungary” on our envelopes. Strangely another local Hungarian checked with the same Post Office and was told the free postage would not be honoured, so confusion abounds. At least I did get to vote which is something. We live in a country where the number of registered Hungarian voters is less than 20 so will be interesting to see what the actual turnout is once the vote counting has been completed.

AB
Guest

I live in Maryland, registered online 3 times. Twice I got rejected as the information page was linked to the wrong form. For the 3 rd time I followed the right link from an article. I asked for email notification. I never received it. By chance someone checked my post in Budapest, they sent me a letter in Hungary instead of the email notification.
It means if someone has no friend to check the mail in Budapest, he/ she may miss the registration.

Member

I did try to register two times online, but I did not receive any answers yet. (I registered in February.)

tinshed
Guest

Some1 :
I did try to register two times online, but I did not receive any answers yet. (I registered in February.)

Have you checked your Spam folder? My confirmation of registration, on my second attempt after my first was rejected, came from regisztracio@nvi.hu.

Dos Santos
Guest
I guess French has to do with the obscure fact that it is still the language of postal communication, probably under various very old international agreements. So it is probably legal. If the US Post will not process that, then that is the failure of the Americans, Orban was complying the laws, in fact he had no other choice, he would have breached those laws if he did not use French. At least that is what he will say. By the way, according to a recent Spiegel-poll some 55% of Germans think that Ukraine is indeed in the Russian sphere of interest so it’s a purely Slavic internal matter what those people do there. If they have no better thing to do than to kill each other then let them play that. Guess, how much the Spanish, French, Italians etc. care? We should not count on the EU or the citizens of the EU. This is a Hungarian issue, and Hungarians have to sort it out. But the Hungarian Left – as we have seen – is just clueless, so they will have no chance to generate any lasting change. Only, after Orban, a new right wing will have the… Read more »
petofi
Guest

Am I the only one who thinks that all that Fidesz is doing is ‘over the top’?
They were winning anyway, probably more than the 2/3 that Orban wants, but Fidesz will
now have to ‘modulate’ the results so they won’t get a ‘Korean result’–ie. 105% for Fidesz.

What is going on?

No country, once civilized with a normally functioning government and legal system, has ever
u-turned into actions that are totally supra-legal. Why are government members suddenly
acting outside of legal norms? What has liberated them from the requirement of following
the norms of legal practice?

In my opinion, there is a complete mockery of proper government actions and processes.
What is the point?

Öcsi
Guest

Paul :
Will anyone outside Hungary notice, or even care?

Events in Hungary do not go unnoticed. Here is an interesting article from Index on Censorship: http://ioc.sagepub.com/content/43/1/88.full

“Hungary is engaged in a cold war over its own story.” That line sure got my attention.

Marcel Dé (@MarcelD10)
Guest

Dos Santos :
I guess French has to do with the obscure fact that it is still the language of postal communication, probably under various very old international agreements. So it is probably legal.

Spot on: French is still the only official language of the Universal Postal Union, est. 1874, now an U.N. agency based in Berne, Switzerland. Ponzi’s coupons were in French 🙂

Member

Paul :
Will anyone outside Hungary notice, or even care?

No.

Nádas
Guest

In fact, the billboards with Orbán’s portrait only say “Magyarország Miniszterelnöke”. They don’t even have his name on them.

oneill
Guest

“Perhaps then the EU will wake up.”
I wouldn’t hold your breathe.
The expression “As useful as a chocolate teapot” comes to mind regarding the EU bigwigs when faced by dictators who refuse to play by the normal rules of democracy.

The democratic fightback can only come from within Hungary and once again, i wouldn’t hold my breathe.

Fidesz/Jobbik capturing more than 80% of the seats, that’s my prediction…. and democrats will keep their heads buried in the sand.

Member
Eva, You say the government is committing “fraud” in the election. But if Fidesz is doing everything by legal means, how can it be fraud? As I see it, Fidesz created a brand-new set of rules that basically guarantee that the party will not lose its total grip on power for at least 10 years. Why does Fidesz have the power to do this? Because the so-called “left wing” lost all credibility between 2006 and 2010 — so badly that they won just two out of 176 constituencies in the 2010 election. Both of these were in District XIII, the reddest place in the entire country. You have argued, quite correctly, that Fidesz employed lies and all manner of manipulation to pull off its massive victory in 2010. It doesn’t matter. The fact is, the Fidesz bulldozer demolished everything that stood in its path, while the effete opposition stood around with that deer-in-the-headlights look on their faces. The trashing was terrible and total. But if I were Mesterhazy, Bajnai, Gyurcsany, David or Fodor, I would have given my people a few days to get over their hangovers and then swing back into action by regrouping, reorganizing and reforming. They did… Read more »
nwo
Guest

The truth is a shockingly high number of people in the country do not care. A victory for FIDESZ is assumed to be a given. Yes, people understand the playing field in not even, but the response is that it does not matter as FIDESZ would win regardless. I am told that the opposition is fighting local and at the grass roots. I don’t believe it.
As for the EU “caring”, give me a break. Even if the whole Russia crisis was not threatening to rip EU countries apart, the basic principle (even if not officially stated) is no meddling in domestic affairs. The only thing that will raise a cry will be an outsized performance by JOBBIK, and what will then happen is that Orban will go straight to Brussels and say; “See, I am the only thing holding back fascism in Hungary so leave me alone.” And they will.
The democratic response for the rest of us will be second round voting with our feet, and crossing the border for good.

Member

oneill :
“Perhaps then the EU will wake up.”
I wouldn’t hold your breathe.
The expression “As useful as a chocolate teapot” comes to mind regarding the EU bigwigs when faced by dictators who refuse to play by the normal rules of democracy.
The democratic fightback can only come from within Hungary and once again, i wouldn’t hold my breathe.
Fidesz/Jobbik capturing more than 80% of the seats, that’s my prediction…. and democrats will keep their heads buried in the sand.

I think you are right. And I love the chocolate teapot analogy.

Would you be interested in setting up a pool for April 6? Perhaps Eva could create a page where her readers could make their predictions. Naturally, there could be no cash prize in the end, just the satisfaction of having got it right.

My prediction is Opposition 41, Jobbik 24, Fidesz 134.

PhatCamper
Guest

“Interestingly enough, while the democratic opposition has neither the money nor the opportunity to advertise [..]” – now that’s a big fat lie. The “Unity” or “Change of Government” or whatever they call themselves these days alliance has received exactly HUF 570 million ($2.6 million) in campaign financial aid from the Hungarian government alone – same as the governing FIDESZ-KNDP party coalition. The left-leaning alliance’s reported campaign spending was up to HUF 680 million ($3 million) as of last week. Granted FIDESZ outspends all the other contenders, but to say that the the latter are penniless is stretching the truth. http://vastagbor.blog.hu/2014/03/20/5_8_milliard_allami_tamogatast_kaptak_az_orszagos_listat_allito_partok
http://dailynewshungary.com/election-2014-fidesz-campaign-spending-above-legal-cap-says-transparency/

tappanch
Guest

Communication patterns around the world:

comment image

Hungarian:

Verbose start —> unpredictable style —> everybody talks at once

ungureanu
Guest

seal driver: let’s wait for the results of April 6. Then analyze them. It’s no use to state how bad or successful the parties “are”, we just do not know.

Even Peter Tölgyessy is hedging his bets saying that the left can even win a small majority in the Parliament or Fidesz can easily have 2/3s in the Parliament.

All these very divergent outcomes depend on a very few percentage points going one way or another.

Member

tinshed :

Some1 :
I did try to register two times online, but I did not receive any answers yet. (I registered in February.)

Have you checked your Spam folder? My confirmation of registration, on my second attempt after my first was rejected, came from regisztracio@nvi.hu.

Yes. Thank you for reminding me. I did check again, but there is nothing. I even went into the server ‘s filter but there is nothing there either.

Szereto Kijatszas
Guest

“Seal Driver” is the new Tappanch.

He is good. He must have a degree in philosophy.

His posting: March 26, 2014 at 6:21 am | #14 is a good description of the Hungarian reality.

Poor people need love and encouragement.

Orban is dosing them with it, while stealing everything from them.

HiBoM
Guest

What have I missed? Why is Timea Szabo a woman whose lack of basic ethics makes her “unfit for public service”?

tappanch
Guest

Orban’s new victory lap: he ordered 15 million euros to be paid for 8 Roman era silver dishes, i.e. half of the “Sevso treasure”. His former personal bodyguard (now TEK chief) brought it to Hungary.

http://index.hu/belfold/2014/03/26/orbanpercrolpercre/

qaz
Guest

@ Petofi
“No country, once civilized with a normally functioning government and legal system, has ever
u-turned into actions that are totally supra-legal. Why are government members suddenly
acting outside of legal norms? What has liberated them from the requirement of following
the norms of legal practice?”

Try pre-war Germany but maybe also today’s violation of certain constitutional rights in the US.

enuff
Guest

OT : Electricity bill

Anybody here experience no electricity bill this month?

I wrote to the electricity provider requesting them to resend this month’s bill assuming the bill had been lost in mail. The reply I got back was that we don’t owe them anything!

How is that possible? with heating yes, we sometime over-paid and later adjusted. Never with electricity…

Is this part of the utility cut programme?

qaz
Guest

@Seal Driver
“You say the government is committing “fraud” in the election. But if Fidesz is doing everything by legal means, how can it be fraud?

Because of “legal illegality.”

If one would follow the logic that seems to underpin your comment, then a parliament could legally decide pass a law for killing all the Jews and a dentist. It would be “legal” because there is a law that was passed by parliament. But would it be truly be legal?

Sorry for the extreme example (thanks to Hannah Arendt) but sometime it is necessary to push an argument to its logical end in order to show its fallacy.

petofi
Guest

qaz :
@ Petofi
“No country, once civilized with a normally functioning government and legal system, has ever
u-turned into actions that are totally supra-legal. Why are government members suddenly
acting outside of legal norms? What has liberated them from the requirement of following
the norms of legal practice?”
Try pre-war Germany but maybe also today’s violation of certain constitutional rights in the US.

Yes, Germany is correct. Perhaps that’s why the similarity between Orban’s Hungary and 1930’s Germany is so acute.

I’m not on ‘violation of US constitutional rights’. I thought the way the Republicans stole the election in Florida through the use of the Supreme Court was pretty ridiculous. But then, didn’t the Kennedy’s steal the 1960’s elections in Chicago?

But I certainly wouldn’t equate election chicanery with the total disregard of legal norms that goes on in Hungary. No comparison at all.

Ron
Guest

enuff :
OT : Electricity bill
Anybody here experience no electricity bill this month?
I wrote to the electricity provider requesting them to resend this month’s bill assuming the bill had been lost in mail. The reply I got back was that we don’t owe them anything!
How is that possible? with heating yes, we sometime over-paid and later adjusted. Never with electricity…
Is this part of the utility cut programme?

Yesterday, we received two electricity bills (ELMU). One for this month, and one for next month. On Monday we received the water bill for two months as well (DMVR). The gas bills (lately three bills for the next three months) I expect any day now (Tigaz).

Possibly as a postal cost saving effort they sent the bills either bi-monthly or quarterly. Perhaps the same happened last month, and therefore, you prepaid this month. It is not always clear (you need to read the small letters).

wpDiscuz