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Parliament to change the Budapest electoral system

December 2nd, 2023

Opposition-leaning commentators accuse Fidesz of using far-right Mi Hazánk to change the electoral rules in Budapest in order to make it more difficult for the liberal Mayor to run the capital.

In an extraordinary session of Parliament, pro-government MPs allowed Mi Hazánk (Our Homeland) to table a bill envisaging a proportional system to elect the Budapest Council. Mi Hazánk insisted that the bill should be discussed along with a draft resolution on a more proportional system of parliamentary elections as well.

In Népszava, political analyst Róbert László is convinced that Fidesz MPs will support the idea of  proportional mandate distribution in Budapest, but not in the case of parliamentary elections. At present, the Budapest Council consists of the 23 district mayors and 9 further members chosen on the basis of the lost votes in the district mayoral elections. As not even one district mayor belongs to Fidesz, that gives the mayor of Budapest a solid majority, he explains, and that is why, he believes, Fidesz allowed the bill to be tabled just six months before the local elections. For the same reason, he predicts, Fidesz MPs will vote down the resolution on a proportional distribution of mandates in parliamentary elections, as that would strip the governing party of its two-thirds majority, he predicts.

On Telex, Balázs Cseke quotes an analysis by the Political Capital thinktank suggesting that Fidesz has given up hope of voting Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony out of office but is trying to make his life as hard as they can. The proportional system, the liberal analysts explain, will allow Mi Hazánk and the Twin-tailed Dog protest party to make it into the Budapest Council, thus depriving the Mayor of his comfortable majority there. Meanwhile, it will increase the number of Fidesz members in the Council. Cseke also remarks that the draft resolution on replacing the majoritarian parliamentary electoral system with a more proportional one is just a declaration of principle rather than a bill – and as such, would have no immediate consequences even if it were adopted.

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