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OSCE prepares for ‘full-scale’ electoral monitoring in Hungary

February 8th, 2022

A pro-government analyst sees the decision to send an unusually large (for an EU country) electoral monitoring mission to Hungary as part of a campaign to explain away the probable defeat of the opposition at the elections in April. A liberal expert thinks even a large number of monitors will have limited means to oversee the election.

Following an appeal by 62 MEPs, the Organisation has recommended ‘full scale’ monitoring of the Hungarian elections in April. Instead of the usual one or two dozen observers, the organisation uniting 57 States in North America, Europe and Asia will send over two hundred people to Hungary.

On Origo, Miklós Szánthó, director of the pro-government “For Basic Rights” think tank, quotes the text of the recommendation to prove that the idea to send a uniquely large number of monitors to Hungary was prompted by anti-government Hungarian NGOs. He remarks that hitherto Bulgaria was the only country for which such a similar decision was taken (before last year’s election), although in the end not enough observers could be recruited. He sees the idea of sending over 200 observers to Hungary as part of a concerted effort to brand the April election beforehand as undemocratic. Szánthó suggests that opponents of the government feel they will lose the elections and are already looking for an explanation that would lay the blame on the government side.

On ATV News, liberal election expert Róbert László cautions against believing that a few hundred observers can guarantee the absolute fairness of an election. He predicts that they will be able to visit about 5 to 8 percent of polling stations throughout the country and may discover petty attempts to tinker with ballots, but ‘cannot produce miracles’.

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