Hungary rigged election claim is as cynical as it is absurd | View

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A chorus of critics is stirring alarm with claims that the Hungarian prime minister will not accept this spring’s election result, and that the vote will be rigged. Don’t be fooled.

When Prime Minister Orban is re-elected, I expect, it will be because of broad voter support for his accomplishments in office: economic recovery during the pandemic, jobs, growth, tax cuts, and reasonable energy prices.

On Sunday, April 3, voters in Hungary will go to the polls to elect a new National Assembly: 199 members, elected directly in a single round of voting from 106 individual electoral districts, the remainder from national party lists. The new parliament will decide who will rule Hungary for the next four years.

As in previous election years, critics of Orbán’s government worked hard to frame the story in advance. This year, our coverage wants you to know that this is supposed to be one of the toughest electoral contests yet for Prime Minister Orban and the ruling coalition, as they face a united opposition and a new challenge.

Some observers have taken matters even further, anticipation That the ruling parties will lose and that the Prime Minister will refuse to accept the results. that An opinion article published on euronews He claimed that the potential for disruption was so great that Europe should “prepare for possible fraudulent elections”.

With a sense of drama, the author warned ominously that “European democracy may be nearing its own Capitol moment”: a reference to violence in Washington, D.C. in January 2021.

These stories are as sarcastic as they are ridiculous. Prime Minister Orban and the ruling coalition are working on a long list of accomplishments in office. I expect that voters will re-elect him because he pushed the country forward and achieved real results for Hungarians.

Hungarians will remember the government’s achievements for 2021

When the coronavirus crisis hit hardest, Hungary was among Europe’s leaders in both vaccine procurement and the number of vaccinations given. Thousands of lives have been saved, and Hungarians will remember that when they come to the voting booths in April.

When we started getting around the pandemic, Hungary was among the first countries in Europe to restart its economy. Unemployment fell again to 3.7 per cent in November 2021 and remains at one of the lowest levels in the European Union. GDP estimates for 2021 show growth of between 6.5 and 7 percent.

Hungary’s minimum wage is now higher than the average wage under previous socialist governments. This year, Hungarian families with children will be compensated for the entire personal income tax paid in 2021. Hungarian pensioners are doing better in 2022 than they were before.

Meanwhile, to counteract the rapid increase in energy prices and boost the economy, the government set loan rates at their level in October 2021, maintained the utility cost reduction scheme, and set a maximum price of 480 forints (€1.35) per liter for fuel.

Health, jobs, tax cuts, affordable energy, economic growth – these things matter to voters.

Disagreement within the opposition?

All election battles are hard fought, of course, and this year’s contest will be no exception. But there is more to the story about the so-called united opposition and their candidate for prime minister.

First of all, naming this alliance broadly is an understatement. The six parties include ex-communists, socialists, greens and the far right.

A popular Hungarian news portal has been running for a long time recently Article – Commodity Citing sources within the campaign complaining of “deep divisions and tensions”, failure to make decisions, and a lack of electoral platform and message: the campaign is in disarray.

Meanwhile, the opposition candidate for prime minister posted a video on his Facebook page in which he discussed, among other inappropriate topics, the number of Jews in the ruling party Fidesz. He has supported some of the most popular candidates in the anti-Semitic and far-right Jobbik party.

Allegations of electoral fraud do not stand

Another favorite argument of these critics is that elections cannot be free and fair because constituencies have been tampered with, an unfounded claim.

After 2010, Parliament was reduced from 386 to 199 members, which meant that the electoral districts had to be redistricted.

Districts also had to be adjusted to fix large disparities in the number of electors – because a vote cast by a voter in rural and eastern Hungary should not have more weight than a voter in Budapest – and Hungarian electoral reform did just that. The size of the current districts is a more equitable distribution of voters.

Some would like you to believe this was all about constituency manipulation, but they can’t support it. Ahead of the 2018 elections, a reporter for a prominent American newspaper gave a story headlined “Division and manipulation of constituencies frustrate anti-Urban voters.”

The reporter focused at length on Constituency 1 as the ultimate example of constituency manipulation, redrawing them to make an opposition victory impossible. Who won District 1 in April 2018? opposition.

The truth is that they have never supported the charge of electoral fraud. But how does the line go? “Repeat a lie often enough…”

The dark warnings about the contested election result and rigged elections are just advocacy journalism at work. These writers obscure the truth and hide the facts to serve their cause.

The most discerning readers, and European decision-makers, should exercise skepticism toward such far-fetched claims and unwise calls for intervention.

The Hungarian voter is no fool. Let them decide on April 3.

Zoltan Kovacs is the Hungarian Minister of State for Public Diplomacy and Relations and the international spokesperson for the Hungarian government.


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