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Orban's ruling Fidesz to tighten regulations on campaign financing ahead of elections

Parties receiving less than 0.5% of the votes cast on party lists in the general election should be obliged to repay the state funding provided for their campaign, Fidesz party group leader Gergely Gulyás said on Tuesday.

In the case a party has such a repayment obligation, then members of its leading body would be universally obliged to pay the debt. According to Gulyás, parties would have to name the members of their respective leading body before receiving the actual funds from the central budget for campaign purposes.

At a press conference, Gulyás said opposition parties had criticized the election law for obliging individual candidates failing to receive at least two percent of votes in their constituency to pay back the HUF 1 million (EUR 3,100) central budget support, but for placing no such obligation on the parties themselves. Gulyás also said that last week in a letter to Speaker of the National Assembly László Kövér, chair of the State Audit Office of Hungary László Domokos had suggested similar modifications.

The modification of the election law, however, requires a two-thirds vote, so the governing Fidesz-Christian Democratic People's Party coalition's parliamentary delegation will not be enough to pass the bill. Gulyás was quick to blame in advance the parties of the opposition for a possible failure to pass the modificatory bill and for anomalies in next year's general election:

"If the opposition does not support the proposition, then the political blame is exclusively on them for all the abuses that might occur in the upcoming parliamentary election," he asserted.

Interestingly the electoral reform proposal issued by Márton Gulyás's Country For All Movement includes a very similar proposition:

"Those parties that launch a party list are obliged to pay back the funds stipulated in 3. § if the party list in a general election of National Assembly representatives falls out of competition or fails to get at least one percent of valid votes based on the election law."

Just a week before his current proposition, Gergely Gulyás dismissed Country For All Movement's proposal and praised his own party for not granting too many advantages to itself when drafting the election law.

Nevertheless, the problem that Fidesz's proposal aims to tackle is a real one. In the 2014 elections, dozens of parties previously unheard of ran national lists of candidates, thereby entitling them to financial support from the central budget amounting to hundreds of millions of forints. Without exception, these parties vanished soon after the elections without showing any sign of political activity. The many fake parties were quite useful to Fidesz as they served to further divide the opposition and confuse voters.


Last Updated on Thursday, 26 October 2017 15:21

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