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Can the elections be canceled due to Hungary’s state of emergency?

picture of emergency sign

In mid-December last year, Parliament extended Hungary’s state of emergency to June 1, 2022. In theory, it was only intended to affect certain government policies related to the impacts of the pandemic, such as extending the moratorium on repaying mortgage loans, and would not influence the elections in any way.

As we wrote at the time:

State Secretary István György noted at a previous session of Parliament that extending the state of emergency would not affect the timetable of next year’s Parliamentary elections or national referendums.

Despite this promise, András Kósa at Azonnali took note of a sentence buried in a recent Ministry of Justice decree that alluded to an emergency that may cause the elections not to take place:

If the election is canceled because of an emergency situation, but the OEVI (National Individual Electoral Office) has already printed out nominee forms pursuant to Ve. Section 121 (2), financial support will be determined on the basis of norms related to the tasks that have to be performed.

-states the Ministry of Justice decree in the Official Gazette 3/2002. (I. 11).

The quoted section from the Ministry of Justice decree, notes Azonnali, otherwise deals with accounting for the costs of the parliamentary elections and the referendum scheduled for the same day.

The news site reached out to the Office of the Government Spokesperson and the Ministry of Justice for clarification on the matter, and received the following reply from the latter:

The holding of a general election for Members of Parliament follows from the Fundamental Law, and is therefore NOT affected by the extraordinary legal order. The Decree as stated regulates the cost accounting rules that apply if the voting fails to take place in an electoral district for some health or pandemic-related reason. However such a failure cannot take place as a general rule, as the statutory rules contain a number of guarantees that the election will be held in all constituencies.

From this statement, it appears that the ministry is preparing for the possibility of individual polling stations being forced to shut down because of the pandemic, but despite the wording of the decree in the recent Official Gazette, the state of emergency will not cause the elections in general from being held.

[Azonnali]

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