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Dispute among liberals over the fairness of election

April 21st, 2018

Three liberal intellectuals question the fairness and legitimacy of the April 8 election. Another liberal commentator suggests that by blaming their defeat purely on allegedly unfair circumstances, the Left could miss an opportunity to revise its strategy.

In Heti Világgazdaság, Balázs Majtényi, Anna Unger and Dezső Tamás Ziegler claim that the April election was not free, fair or democratic. The liberal intellectuals contend that the media was dominated by the governing party and that the electoral rules introduced in 2011 give a clear advantage to Fidesz. The authors speculate that even if the election was rigged, voters will never learn the truth, as there are no independent institutions that would report fraud. In light of all this, the authors think that the April 8 Parliamentary election was unfair, and label the Hungarian political system an ‘electoral autocracy’ marked by hollowed out and only formally existing democratic institutions which are used as a cover-up for arbitrary rule.

On Index, liberal free-speech activist Péter Molnár thinks that it would be an exaggeration to call the Hungarian political system a dictatorship. The liberal activist agrees that since 2010, Hungary has become a more centralized and less free country, but nonetheless, the opposition can exercise freedom of speech and openly criticize the government. By claiming that the Left has no chance to defeat Fidesz, due to its allegedly dictatorial rule, left-wing politicians and intellectuals miss the opportunity to revise their strategy and come up with a vision that is more appealing to voters, Molnár suggests.

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