Opposition Parties Gear Up For Early Election Kick-Off

  • 12 Jan 2018 8:18 AM
Opposition Parties Gear Up For Early Election Kick-Off
Deputy leader of the radical nationalist Jobbik party Dániel Z Kárpát questioned the legitimacy of the upcoming election, referring to a large fine the State Audit Office recently imposed on his party. He insisted that Jobbik was the only opposition party with the potential to win the election.

He added that the ruling parties, however, were trying to “kill off” their political adversaries and would build a single-party system.

Concerning a suggestion that Jobbik could pay the fine imposed for allegedly receiving illegal financing, at a later date after the election, Z Kárpát said that it would be “equal to acknowledging that the fine is justified”, which his party “will not do”.

The leftist Democratic Coalition (DK) said they had expected the president to set the election at the earliest date and voiced optimistic expectations saying that “it does not matter when DK and its allies topple Fidesz”.

Socialist leader Gyula Molnár said it had yet to be determined how many places Párbeszéd and the Liberal Party would be granted on a joint list, but he added that Párbeszéd would be offered its own group in the next parliament.

Molnár insisted his party and Párbeszéd would “do everything in our power to achieve a change of government”.

Gergely Karácsony, the PM candidate for the Socialist and Párbeszéd parties said democratic opposition forces should jointly appeal to Hungarian voters.

“The door is open” to all such parties to join forces and enter a joint party list for the April ballot, he told public radio.

The majority of Hungarians want a change in government and the broadest possible cooperation, he said, adding that “the voice of people must be heard”.

Karácsony said he stands ready to serve as prime minister, but is open to discussing the candidacy with anyone capable of uniting more parties and voters.

The green opposition LMP party welcomed the earliest possible date for the election, saying the “Fidesz government can be sent packing” sooner than later.

“LMP is working to move on from the past 27 years and usher in a new era in Hungary,” LMP spokesman Máté Kanász-Nagy told a press conference.

Fines the Hungarian Audit Office (ASZ) has levied against several opposition parties “cast a shadow over the election”, he said, adding that the audit office “is supposed to be an independent institution” but it had “crudely interfered” with the election campaign, working “as an extended arm” of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and the ruling Fidesz party.

LMP will refuse to pay the fine of several million forints, he said. “We are looking into legal ways of standing up for our rights.”

Hungary’s 7.9 million voters will have the opportunity to cast two ballots in the single-round election deciding 199 seats. One ballot directly elects lawmakers in 106 individual constituencies.

A formula is used to allocate the remaining seats based on votes cast for a party list. Parties need at least 5% of votes cast for their list in order to get seats in parliament.

Under the constitution, the founding session of the new parliament will be convened by the president of the republic within 30 days of the general election.

The prime minister will be elected by a majority of lawmakers based on the president’s proposal.

Parliament will approve the government’s programme and elect the prime minister simultaneously. Hungary’s new parliament must be formed by May 8 at the latest.

Republished with permission of Hungary Matters, MTI’s daily newsletter.

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