Hungary: Civil society groups request election observers | News | DW | 13.01.2022

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Hungary: Civil society groups request election observers

Twenty Hungarian civil society organizations called for international observers during elections in April. Prime Minister Viktor Orban has already challenged the legitimacy of elections in the country he controls.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban

Civil society groups in Hungary are concerned about challenges to the legitimacy of the country's elections

Hungarian civil society groups called for international election observers to monitor the country's vote come April 3.

In an open letter published by the Helsinki Committee in Budapest on Thursday, some 20 civil society organizations wrote, "The Hungarian elections in 2022 will be one of the most important stress tests for democracy in Europe and in the EU."

Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a darling of the international far right, has already challenged the legitimacy and fairness of elections in the country he rules.

Why do civil society groups want election observers?

Orban has misused state funds, made use of aggressive anti-immigrant messages, and worked to transform the media landscape into one that favors him and his party.

Hungary: Outsider to lead opposition bloc in election

The last elections in Hungary took place in 2018 and Orban has significantly tightened his grip on power since.

Civil society groups are concerned about the fairness of the country's elections after several procedural alterations since the last elections, including redistricting, the dominance of the ruling party Fidesz, notably on media and advertising, as well as recent laws that support vote-rigging and residence registration.

What is Hungarian civil society requesting?

Hungarian civil society activists called for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to send an election observer mission. 

In their open letter, the civil society organizations said an OSCE observer mission "would significantly increase public confidence in the electoral process, deter irregularities during the final campaign days (and on election day itself) and thus safeguard the fairness of the democratic process." 

Edited by Sean Sinico