The ruling Fidesz-Christian Democratic party alliance submitted a proposal for new electoral procedures to the national assembly on Tuesday.
The package, submitted by head of the Prime Minister’s Office Janos Lazar, Fidesz lawmaker Lajos Kosa and Christian Democrat MP Imre Vejkey, includes the introduction of voter pre-registration for elections.
Pre-registration of voting-age nationals will be possible until 15 days before a given election, and registration will be valid for three elections – the general election, local elections and the EU elections. Anyone who fails to register for the first election, however, will have an opportunity to register for future ones elections.
Under the proposed changes, parliament will delegate seven members to the National Elections Committee for a nine-year year term. Political parties and organisations fielding candidates could also send additional members to the body.
The proposal seeks to set up a National Elections Centre, an autonomous body within the public administration system, which will be in charge of making arrangements for and facilitating elections.
If the bill is passed into law, candidates in future will need signatures from 200 supporters to run in Hungary’s general elections, while 5,000 signatures will be required for elections to the European Parliament.
The new preconditions for general-election candidacy would replace the current system of collecting nomination slips from voters. At present, 1,000 such slips are necessary for the candidate to become eligible.
Supporters can add their signatures to nominate candidates 31 days before an election at the latest.
The package includes a proposal to amend the basic law so that the compilation of the voter list is done on a voluntary basis; in other words, the state will no longer hold a central list of voters.
The amendment will also affect rules pertaining to national referendums. In the future, referendums will be valid if at least half of registered eligible voters turn up to vote and cast a valid ballot. Currently proportion this applies to all voters.
Deputy head of Fidesz Lajos Kosa said on public radio earlier on Tuesday the new electoral law would “open the door of democracy wide”. He added that voters could support more than one candidate in the same election.
Kosa confirmed that the campaign silence prior to the election would be scrapped.