Hungary’s ‘free and fair’ democracy is arguably even more equitable than Britain’s

By Thomas Brooke
4 Min Read

Despite claims to the contrary by the European liberal elite, the Hungarian general election on April 3 will be “free and fair,” the country’s ambassador to the U.K. has insisted.

Writing in the U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper, Dr. Ferenc Kumin hit back at the West’s liberal mainstream media which has claimed that Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, intends to skew the vote in his Fidesz party’s favor, and has promoted controversial remarks from federalists in Brussels who claim the election will be rigged.

“This is simply not true,” writes Kumin, who has been Hungary’s main diplomat in London since May 2020. “We Hungarians are going to hold a free and fair parliamentary election for the ninth time since we won back our freedom in 1990,” he added, insisting it is time for Britain, and indeed the rest of Europe, to take the Hungarian democratic process seriously and “to consider the facts, rather than simply accepting at face value superficial, and often politically loaded, opinions.”

[pp id=26800]

It is not difficult to decipher who Kumin refers to. In January, long-serving Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt, a vocal critic of Hungarian government policy, claimed “Orbán will play it dirty” in a social media rant. He and a number of cross-party MEPs recently called for Brussels to conduct an election observation mission in Hungary during the electoral process, claiming it was “absolutely necessary” to ensure that the highest democratic standards were met.

Kumin compared the democratic integrity of the Hungarian hybrid electoral process with that of Britain’s first-past-the-post system, revealing that if Hungary followed the British way of conducting elections in 2018, Orbán’s Fidesz party would have won 86 percent of the parliamentary seats and there would be “hardly any opposition MPs at all.”

He also cited the high turnout among Hungarians for general elections — 70.2 percent in the 2018 election — and highlighted that Orbán’s opposition had enjoyed plenty of electoral success in recent times, including the “mayoralty of Budapest and several other big cities in the 2019 municipal elections.”

He praised the “well-functioning, vibrant democracy” of Hungary and insisted that opposition parties had plenty of opportunities to win.

“Nothing is determined in advance, and nothing is impossible,” he added.

Furthermore, in addressing the unfair media criticism of Hungarian democracy, Kumin cited the recent reform to imbalances between electoral districts, known in the U.K. as boundary reviews. Hungarian election law now only allows a 15 percent differentiation in district sizes to ensure each Hungarian vote is weighted as equally as possible.

“Before the reform, the smallest district had barely 27,000 inhabitants, whereas the biggest had over 74,000. Now the size hovers around 75,000,” Kumin wrote, comparing this to electoral imbalances in Britain where the Isle of Wight constituency in the south of England consists of 108,000 people “while Na h-Eileanan an Iar in Scotland has just over 21,000.”

The Hungarian ambassador to the U.K. accused the mainstream media of distorting the reality of Hungarian democracy and claimed to have difficulty in “gathering factual information about what is actually going on in Hungary” via the Western press.

He suggested people should take media commentary on the Hungarian election with a pinch of salt, and advised those interested in the country’s democracy to take a trip to a Hungarian city “so you can see with your own eyes how freedom-loving Hungarians are preparing for the upcoming election.”

Share This Article