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Left-wing ruminations on the Baja by-election

October 2nd, 2013

Left-wing commentators accuse Fidesz of election fraud after the Baja local by-election results in one sub-district were scrapped by the court. They also claim that the new electoral law will allow the manipulation of results at the 2014 Parliamentary election.

On Saturday, the Kecskemét Court ruled that campaign rules were violated when voters were driven in groups to one of the five polling stations in last week’s Baja by-election. The court declared void the results of the sub-district with a predominantly poor (mostly Roma) population (see BudaPost September 30). According to the current election law, active campaigning should not take place on election days. The court grounded its decision on evidence provided by a video tape made by a left-wing activist. Fidesz floor leader Antal Rogán told the press that the accusations of cheating were unfounded, and as far as campaigning on election day is concerned, it is allowed in most countries and it will be allowed in Hungary too, from January next year.

It is now clear that Fidesz cheated, Péter Németh comments on the verdict in Népszava. The left-wing columnist speculates that the governing party wanted to test how successfully it can mobilize voters. As the new electoral act effective from 2014 allows active campaigning even on election day, Fidesz will be free to legally “manipulate” results by transporting voters to the booths en masse, Németh concludes.

In the same daily, Jenő Veress contends that from next year it will be harder to unveil election fraud. The new privacy regulations stipulate that recordings can only be made and published with the permission of the subjects of the recording. Veress believes that the new rules will therefore make secret recordings a criminal act.

In Népszabadság, Károly Lencsés notes that the Baja case shows how important the role of the National Electoral Committee supervising the election will be in 2014. The left-wing columnist suggests that as the government side will have a majority of votes within the committee, they can easily dismiss complaints from the opposition parties, just as they did in the Baja case. As a result, it will be the task of the courts to guarantee the fairness of the elections, Lencsés concludes,

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