This is EIDP’s combined report on Hungarian Parliamentary elections and Montenegrin Presidential elections.
The structure of this report is as follows:
- part: Hungarian Parliamentary election report
- part: Montenegrin Presidential election report
1. Hungarian Parliamentary election report
The Hungarian parliamentary elections took place on 8th of April where the strong Eurosceptic and anti-migration prime minister Viktor Orbán and his party Fidesz was elected for his fourth term in the office. According to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) data a total of 8,312,264 voters, including over 435,000 voting from abroad, were registered for the elections. With 66.8% of votes gained Viktor Orbán’s party received 133 out of 199 seats in parliament.
To explain why his party gained the big majority of seats we need to look into the Hungarian electoral system. It states that even though a party doesn’t win the majority of the vote, it is entitled to gain a large majority of the seats in the parliament. Through the years when being in the power, V. Orbán has strengthened this section in the country’s electoral system.
The OSCE report has described the overall Hungarian parliamentary elections in the following manner:
“Voters had a wide range of political options but intimidating and xenophobic rhetoric, media bias and opaque campaign financing constricted the space for genuine political debate, hindering voters’ ability to make a fully-informed choice.”
The Hungarian media provided extensive campaign coverage; however, according to OSCE’s observation, it was lacking critical analysis. Nevertheless, free airtime was available for all candidates to speak out about their agenda. Though, ruling coalition was favorized in the new in the media. It was observed that the political campaign didn’t contain enough debate; this was explained by the ‘intimidating campaign rhetoric’.
Youth political activity
Hungarian electoral law states that voters can give their vote in polling stations outside of their legal residence or abroad. This was proved to be beneficial to younger voters as the current state of political activity of youth needs to be improved in the country. According to Association des États Généraux des Étudiants de l’Europe (AEGEE):
“Hungary is currently characterised by one of the highest levels of political disillusionment among youth in Europe, and low youth voter turnout was assessed by AEGEE observers to have persisted in this election in spite of efforts by several major political parties to target youth issues in their campaigns.”
It’s important to mention that domestic election observations are lacking provisions in Hungarian election legislation. This implies that the youth and also civil society organizations are disempowered to take part in democratic observation process. However, the international election observers have clear regulations which are facilitated by the election administration. Even though, AEGEE reports that the Hungarian youth has a high interest in taking part in civic processes; therefore, there still is a high possibility to improve youth participation in national decision making. This can be achieved by the authorities to develop concrete measures which would promote a more visible youth inclusion in political activities.
2. Montenegrin Presidential election report
On 15th of April Montenegrin presidential election took place where pro-European Union politician Milo Đjukanović won the presidential election by replacing the ex-president Filip Vujanović.
Background of the election
Overall there were 7 candidates from which 6 men and 1 female candidate. This was the first time when a female candidate runs for the presidential elections in Montenegro. The process of the election is as follows: a candidate must receive more than 50% of the votes in the first round to be elected; however, if not then the two candidates with the highest votes move on to compete in the second election round. The elected president can be in power for two consecutive five-year terms. Interestingly to note that people who have resided in Montenegro for more than 2 years are granted the right to vote.
According to OSCE report, the activity of the candidate campaign was relatively inactive. The main topics of the campaign were anti-corruption, EU integration, and organized crime. The funding of the campaigns could be collected by both public and private donators, as from individuals or legal entities.
Meetings with voters and small-scale rallies were organized; however, large-scale rallies were only held by the candidate Mr. Đukanović which also didn’t spare any promotional materials. The ruling party candidate was dominating the billboards in the cities and also advertising in the traditional media.
Montenegro has a diverse content in the media sector; however, there is a lack of financial resources of the media outlets and the small advertising market. This has resulted in the following situation – state funds, corporate owners and international aid finances the media. Nonetheless, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights Election Observation Mission (ODIHRE EOM) has observed that there was “wide election coverage in a variety of formats, including newscasts, talk shows, free and paid airtime, interviews and television debates.” However, similarly to Hungarian election reporting, Montenegrin election coverage was lacking analytical reporting. Above that, all candidates were offered free airtime, one-hour interviews and two political debates on the national television. It’s interesting to note that the currently governing party did not attend the televised debates.
The EIDP is planning to organize Election Observation Missions in year 2018/2019. Make sure you follow us on Facebook for updates on Call for Participants.
Sources used for the Hungarian Parliamentary election report:
Sources used for the Montenegrin Presidential election report: