Voluntary voter registration for next year’s general election will start on September 1, 2013 and last until two weeks before the election, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office said on Monday.
Janos Lazar said all Hungarian citizens included in the population register will be sent an invitation to decide whether he or she wanted to cast their votes and whether they would do it in person or electronically, from abroad or in Hungary.
All citizens will be again contacted in November or December and those who have not yet registered will be once again warned that registration will be necessary to cast their vote, Lazar said.
In 2014, there will be no time restrictions on political campaigning, like there was in the past, Lazar added.
Lazar said that voter registration had to be introduced to enable an expected half a million new Hungarian citizens living abroad and 250-300 thousand Hungarians working in Western Europe to participate in the election.
Plans are afoot to ease voting for the 600,000 handicapped voters, he said adding that there would be a need for affirmative action in this case.
Lazar said that the number of eligible voters was expected to increase from 8 million in 2010 to 8.5-9 million by 2014.
Parliament is scheduled to start discussing the new bill on election procedures next Monday, he said. The new legislation is expected to clear Parliament in December and take effect on January 1, 2013, Lazar said.
The majority of campaign funding will come from the state, with each nominee to receive over 1 million forints, Lazar said. After the election, they will be expected to give detailed account of how this was utilised, he added. Lazar said regulations on this would be included in the new penal code. Additional funding can only be raised from private individuals and it must not be more than one third of total costs, he added.
Restrictions are planned on campaign methods, for instance a ban on commercials, but there will be free advertising offered in the public media, Lazar said.
The system of collecting nomination slips is planned to be eliminated and in line with international examples, MPs will be automatically allowed to run, and others will need to collect a hundred signatures to become eligible.