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2011-01-31

Dual citizenship at its logical conclusion

Politically, Fidesz stands to gain a lot by giving suffrage to newly minted Hungarian citizens across the border. Still, the opposition will be in a tough spot because Fidesz is right to argue that generally speaking, citizenship does not tend to be decoupled from suffrage.
Dual citizenship at its logical conclusion

Politically, Fidesz stands to gain a lot by giving suffrage to newly minted Hungarian citizens across the border. Still, the opposition will be in a tough spot because Fidesz is right to argue that generally speaking, citizenship does not tend to be decoupled from suffrage. Extending suffrage to all citizens is usually seen as a democracy-enhancing measure and several European countries have extended the right to vote to their respective Diaspora in the past couple of years.

A mere month after adopting the law allowing for dual citizenship of Hungarians across the borders, Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén already made clear that the government would attempt to give the new citizens the right to vote as well. In an interview with the Hungarian-language paper Krónika in Transylvania, the KDNP politician remarked that “citizenship and suffrage are inseparable”.

Semjén’s remarks last summer were clearly a trial balloon, which was followed by several others, none of which elicited significant reactions in the public. At the same time, the statement was also clearly more than just musing aloud, but rather an announcement of the government’s intention. While such clear talk would have been welcome prior to the vote in parliament, when Fidesz essentially ignored the issue of voting rights, Semjén’s promise made clear to all but the most obtuse that the question with regard to the suffrage of citizens across the borders would be only a question of how. The “if” issue had been settled.

Policy Solutions' analysis on the government's plan to link dual citizenship to suffrage 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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