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2011-10-17

New Electoral Law, Part II: Redefining proportionality

In Part II of our electoral law analysis we take a look at the more technical aspects of the new election law, analysing how changes to electoral system will affect seat distribution, voting behaviour and future majorities. We argue that Fidesz tinkers with the system in a way that will increase the likelihood of emerging victorious from a battle with a fragmented but overall strong opposition.
New Electoral Law, Part II: Redefining proportionality

Last week we analysed how Fidesz would change suffrage rules by giving Hungarian citizens abroad the right to vote and how it restricts ballot access. In Part II of our electoral law analysis we take a look at the more technical aspects of the new election law, analysing how changes to electoral system will affect seat distribution, voting behaviour and future majorities. We argue that Fidesz tinkers with the system in a way that will increase the likelihood of emerging victorious from a battle with a fragmented but overall strong opposition.

Any electoral system and especially a complex one such as the Hungarian (which ranks on par with our language in terms of its difficulty, though there are actually people who understand the latter) will create a variety of incentives for voters and parties. Many of these incentives will play out differently based on the prevailing distribution of voter preferences, both at the national and the single-member district level.

There is no way of setting up rules so that they always favour one party, at least not in a democracy. Any free and fair election is always a risk for the incumbents. That said, Fidesz’ proposal would tweak the system to the nigh maximum degree possible to favour its own prospects in the near future. In light of the system’s complexity, some of the proposals may turn on their creators, but that is a calculated risk.

Policy Solutions' analysis on the government's new electoral law can be downloaded from here.



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About Us

Policy Solutions is a progressive political research institute based in Budapest. It was founded in 2008 and it is committed to the values of liberal democracy, solidarity, equal opportunity and European integration. The focus of Policy Solutions’ work is on understanding political processes in Hungary and the European Union. Among the pre-eminent areas of our research are the investigation of how the quality of democracy evolves, the analysis of factors driving euroscepticism, populism and the far-right, and election research. 

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