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Hungarians voting from abroad have net 28 new polling locations this year

picture of Hungarian man voting

It can still be difficult for Hungarians who have moved abroad to cast a vote in the country’s parliamentary elections, but will get a bit easier this year with extra polling locations opening up overseas.

Voters with a Hungarian address but residing abroad on the day of the April 3 election will have a total of 146 polling stations in foreign diplomatic missions to choose from. Since to the 2018 election, twenty-nine new diplomatic missions have opened, while one in Tripoli closed during that time.

According to state news agency MTI, 118 Hungarian diplomatic missions hosted polling locations in the 2018 parliamentary elections.

Since that time, missions have opened in Houston and Miami (USA), Innsbruck (Austria), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Nicosia (Cyprus), Tallinn (Estonia), Lyon and Strasbourg (France), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Montreal and Vancouver (Canada), Guangzhou (China), Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan), Vientiane (Laos), Gdansk and Wroclaw (Poland), Luxembourg City (Luxembourg), Valletta (Malta), Nuremberg (Germany), Muscat (Oman), Ramallah (Palestine), Panama City (Panama), Malaga (Spain), Geneva (Switzerland), Dakar (Senegal), Banská Bystrica (Slovakia), Kampala (Uganda), Montevideo (Uruguay) and Lusaka (Zambia).

Hungarian citizens with a permanent residence in Hungary may vote in one of its foreign dipomatic missions, but they must register in advance and state that they will not be in the country. Comparatively, ethnic Hungarians in neighboring countries without an address in Hungary are able to vote absentee by mail, although only for political parties and not for individual candidates.

The non-partisan organization Freie Ungarische Botschaft believes that this situation is discriminatory towards Hungarians working abroad, and that it frequently necessitates long travel for them to get to a voting location. For example, in the previous election there were only three polling locations in Australia and two in Canada despite the enormous size of these countries.

Last month, a group of Hungarians living in the U.K. petitioned the government to open up 12 new polling stations in cities around the country, but the list above shows that there won’t be any new polling locations in Britain this year.

[HVG]

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