Head of the small splinter party Democratic Coalition and former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany called for further forms of protest on Saturday upon finishing a week-long hunger strike against the government’s plan to introduce compulsory pre-registration at the next national election in 2014.
Gyurcsany called on the main opposition Socialists and small opposition party LMP to boycott the parliamentary debate of the election procedures bill and he asked his supporters to submit a petition against the pre-registration requirement.
He reiterated that the requirement of pre-registration will exclude hundreds of thousands from the election. Most of those who only decide in the last few weeks that they would cast a vote generally support the opposition, he added.
If the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban wants to stay in power with the help of “legal tricks and machinations,” then “Hungary will lose its calm and the people will simply rebel,” Gyurcsany said.
The ex-premier said the Democratic Coalition would organise a live chain around Parliament on the day when MPs pass the final vote about the introduction of pre-registration.
He criticised the extension of voting rights to ethnic Hungarians living beyong the borders, stating that ever since the referendum of 2004 on dual citizenship, Fidesz has been trying to use them for its own purposes.
He invited democratic opposition parties and organisations to hold a joint event marking the anniversary of Hungary’s anti-Soviet 1956 revolution on October 23.
Fidesz spokeswoman Gabriella Selmeczi said in reaction that Gyurcsany was only seeking media attention when he called on other parties to take politics to the streets. She called on the Democratic Coalition, the Socialists and LMP to act in line with their authorisation by the voters and participate in parliament’s work.
Meanwhile, the main opposition Socialists are likely to boycott a parliamentary debate on the planned amendment of the election procedures law to introduce the requirement of voter pre-registration, deputy floor group leader Istvan Jozsa said on Sunday.
A central decision has not yet been made by the party, but Jozsa said he expected the Socialists to stay away from the debate because they believe a decision on election rights should be made only on the basis of a broad social consensus.
“No democratic force should be part of such extreme mutilation of the right to vote,” he added.
The small opposition green party LMP plans to participate in the debate because they want to present their opinion on the subject, spokesman Laszlo Heltai said.
The party is against the introduction of voter pre-registration but agree with a plan to scrap the system of recommendation slips, he added.
Gabriella Selmeczi, a spokeswoman for governing Fidesz, on Sunday called the “hysteria” generated by the opposition parties around the voter pre-registration unnecessary and pointless. She insisted that the proposed system would allow for a much broader scope of participation. She said the new system was an improvement compared with the current one, because all those wishing to cast their ballots would be provided all necessary information and details and allowed enough time to register. Those who wish to stay away from the elections will at the same time not be bothered with any calls or materials related to the vote, she added.