Hungarian election observation mission led by Polish legal institute

The mission is to restore public trust in the electoral processes and international observers after concerns over the integrity and objectiveness of the OSCE

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: Magda Domańska
Hungary's prime minister, Viktor Orban, center, addresses thousands of supporters as they gather in Budapest, Hungary, Tuesday, March 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Anna Szilagyi)

Ordo Iuris, a Polish legal body, is leading the International Observation Mission overlooking the parliamentary elections in Hungary.

The spokesperson for the Hungarian government, Zoltan Kovacs, pointed out that there are severe doubts over the impartiality of the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE), which filled the role of the observer until now.

The voting will take place on April 3 but the observation mission began on March 24.

Ordo Iuris explains that the members of the International Observation Mission, including its head, Jerzy Kwaśniewski, who is also the president of Ordo Iuris, have meetings and consultations and conduct research in the field.

The official statement says that the purpose is learning as much as possible about the Hungarian elections, and to “get the full picture of the electoral system, using all the adequate sources.”

It also says that the Institute invited academics, journalists, lawyers and civil society representatives from four European countries to participate in the mission “so that they could use their authority to guarantee an independent and objective evaluation of the Hungarian elections.”

Up to this point the observation mission was fulfilled by the OSCE in Europe, which “lost the Hungarian trust” after the publication of a report criticizing the country’s electoral system. The OSCE is currently led by Poland, and it is being represented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Zbigniew Rau.

According to Ordo Iuris, the OSCE reports “are often based on anonymous sources or on the opinion of only one political side to support the critique of the Hungarian electoral system, which may give rise to concern. That leads to justified questioning of the presented accusations and claims regarding the election process, and to a major decrease of the authority of the observation mission.”

Jerzy Kwaśniewski assessed that the Ordo Iuris mission will help the international observation missions regain credibility.

“We are ready to take the lead in abiding by the best practices, international standards and the rules of unbiased, democratic and respectful observation of the elections, to aid the Hungarian nation in organizing democratic elections,” pointed out the head of the Ordo Iuris.

Viktor Orbán is running in the elections for the next term as the prime minister of Hungary. The candidate of the five-party, left-wing opposition party facing Orbán is the mayor of Hódmezővásárhely, Péter Márki-Zay. According to polls, Victor Orban’s party Fidesz has a 3- to 5-percentage point lead over the opposition.

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