Hungary Plans to Tighten Election Rules for Smaller Parties

Hungary’s government is proposing a change to election rules that would make it harder for smaller parties to run against Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party.

The amendments were submitted to parliament one minute before midnight late on Tuesday, amid a series of bills and decrees that evening that tightened lockdown restrictions to fight the coronavirus pandemic and sought to enshrine religious gender doctrines in the constitution.

If approved, the new rules would make it harder for opposition parties to join their forces against Orban. His opponents have been planning to back joint candidates in individual constituencies during the next election in 2022. However, Tuesday’s bill forbids parties that don’t have their own candidates in at least 50 individual districts from seeking to gain seats via nationwide party lists, putting them at a disadvantage against Fidesz, which would have access to both.

The government said the change aims to stop parties without any genuine popular support from abusing the election subsidy system.

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