We have started monitoring the elections

Now that the election date has been set, we will start to feel the menacing deficiencies of the new election procedures. HCLU has started its election monitoring work, during which it is going to document if and how these procedures, which are going to be applied for the first time in 2014, harm our constitutional rights. In the coming months we are going to examine if the data, which draws an objective picture of the different election phases, supports our suspicion that the new regulations violate participation rights in practice.

HCLU (on its own and with others) has expressed its objections to the various elements of the new election procedures on many occasions. Our objections are founded on two grounds. First, the individual elements of the procedures do not meet the theoretical requirements of constitutionality. For example, the denial of voting rights to certain groups, or the unwarranted expansion thereof. Second, we have criticized certain elements of the new electoral system for the effects they can reasonably be ascertained to cause based on available data. It is expected these elements of the campaign regulations will narrow the space for political discourse. The objective of our monitoring activities is to show: these elements are not only expected to have a negative effect, but when applied in practice, they will also in fact lead to violation of constitutional rights of constituents.

We are convinced that it is the legal system, namely an appropriate electoral procedure and the legal guarantees, that has a duty to ensure free and equal political participation of citizens. Thus, when evaluating the various effects of the electoral system, we are trying to find an answer to the question whether the election procedures within the present socio-economic conditions in Hungary enable all citizens to practice their political participation rights according to their will. Additionally, we ask if the circumstances are fair and rights equally distributed.

Therefore, we are specifically focusing on the following domains:

(1) Campaign: How are the conditions for free and equal political discourse able to prevail as a result of the new campaign regulations?

(2) Voting rights of vulnerable groups: How can people with any kind of disabilities, the homeless, and the incarcerated exercise their voting rights? How do ethnic minority voters exercise their voting rights, and how does this affect the significance of their political participation?

(3) Voting rights of citizens abroad: How can citizens with and without a permanent address in Hungary exercise their voting rights?

Focusing our monitoring work according to the questions above will provide us with concrete, tangible data that are expected to prove the new electoral procedures, which will be applied for the first time in 2014, will have a significant negative effect on the free, fair, and equal political participation of political community members – as we have reasonably surmised.

Megosztás

Kapcsolódó hírek

Hungary's Government Has Taken Control of the Constitutional Court

The Hungarian government has filled the Constitutional Court with loyal judges to create a judicial rubber stamp for government interests, according to a study by Hungarian NGOs of recent Constitutional Court decisions.

The Constitutional Court Hears the President of the National Judicial Office Behind Closed Doors

According to the Eötvös Károly Institute, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, the Constitutional Court’s decision to hear the President of the National Judicial Office behind closed doors undermines the transparency of decision-making by a public office, the right to freedom of information and the principle of fair trial.

HCLU protests against the proposed new media legislation

The new media-press regulation plan is unfounded, and fails to meet established European freedom of press standards. Moreover, the so-called “media package” sponsored by two right-wing MPs from the governing party (Antal Rogán, András Cser-Palkovics), contains bills with several unconstitutional clauses. The bills would bring about significant changes to the functioning of printed press, television, radio and part of the internet as well. The HCLU disapproves of the process by which the new parliamentary majority has gone about building a completely new regulation plan without any previous consultation, open debate with stakeholders, experts or journalists. This is foolhardy at best, since the bills represent an attempt at a far-reaching overhaul in media regulation.