Constitutional court orders recount of Budapest mayoral election votes

The election was won by incumbent leftist mayor Gergely Karácsony by just 41 votes, but now a full recount is expected

Mayor of Budapest Gergely Karacsony addresses protesters in Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, June 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Laszlo Balogh)
By Dénes Albert
2 Min Read

The Hungarian Constitutional Court ordered a recount of the votes cast in the Budapest mayoral election on June 9, ruling that in the previous instance, the Supreme Court (Curia) did not substantiate why it rejected an earlier demand for a recount.

Now, the Curia has ordered the National Election Committee to scrutinize and recount all the valid votes cast in the election of the Lord Mayor, a decision that comes after the Constitutional Court ruled in favor of Vitézy’s complaint regarding the Curia’s previous decision, which was then annulled.

Only after a full recount will it be decided who will be Budapest’s mayor starting this autumn, the court ruled.

Gergely Karácsony won 371,466 votes (47.53 percent) and Dávid Vitézy 371,142 votes (47.49 percent) in the municipal elections for the mayor of Budapest. This meant that the incumbent, left-wing opposition mayor won by just 324 votes. A recount of those ballots considered “dubious” narrowed his lead to only 41 votes.

Karácsony reacted to the decision for a full recount by saying that “members of the electoral offices may, by law, assist in the recount, but the recount itself must be carried out by the electoral commission of all the parliamentary parties.”

His opponent, Dávid Vitézy, on the other hand, said: “As I wrote yesterday, in a competitive democracy with such a close result, this is only natural, but it is a question of whether this could have been done earlier, especially given the relatively high margin of error in the recount of invalid votes.”

He also listed three guarantees surrounding the recount: that the ballot boxes are properly sealed; that they are not accessed by unauthorized persons; and that the recount is carried out with the “widest possible publicity.”

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