June 10th, 2011

Socialists said to back list-based election system

Hungary’s opposition Socialist Party is in favour of replacing the current mixed electoral system with what it calls a more proportionate system of party lists, national daily Nepszabadsag said on Thursday.

Under the effective law, 176 deputies of the 386-member Parliament are elected in individual constituencies, at most 152 on regional party lists and at least 58 on national party lists.

Hungary’s new constitution does not stipulate that the next parliament will comprise around 200 members, but it can be taken for granted that the national assembly will be downsized to around that figure.

European lawmaker Janos Ader, of the ruling Fidesz party, who is tasked with coordinating the drafting of a new election bill, said the new law would be passed by the end of December at the latest.

Fidesz has proposed a 198-member assembly elected in a mixed system of individual constituencies and party lists.

The Socialists want 199 mandates to be distributed from party regional and national lists, the party official in charge Zsolt Molnar told the paper. Nor do they rule out a system based purely on national lists, he added.

Maintaining constituencies would make no sense if their number were reduced to 90-100, Molnar said, since no deputy would be able to handle constituencies inhabited by over 100,000 voters.

Moreover, he said redrawing the constituencies would open up opportunities for abuse.

Molnar added that the Socialists would not agree to granting voting rights to Hungarian citizens unless they had permanent residency in the country.

The Socialists are “open” to discussion and hope that Fidesz will not carry out the electoral reform “from the usual power position by ignoring the views of others,” he said.

Hungary is scheduled to hold the next general elections in 2014.

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