Deputy PM Semjén: Fidesz benefits from its own changes to election law

March 24, 2017

Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén (Christian Democratic People’s Party, KDNP) gave a rare interview to pro-government daily Magyar Idők Thursday, where he said that beginning in the autumn, the Fidesz-KDNP 2018 election campaign would “become ecstatic.” Semjén promised that the stakes of the election for the opposition parties would be “their mere survival.”

“Since they have no real viable alternative program, in their desperation they are left only with slander,” Semjén said of the opposition. “Especially if they receive orders and ammunition for this from abroad.”

Semjén may have been referring to repeated requests on the floor of parliament by Jobbik chairman Gábor Vona for Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to deny he had any involvement with Hungarian secret services before the political transition. But as points out, Fidesz politicians themselves have been more than willing to slander the opposition, especially Vona:  Orbán has intimated in parliament that the Jobbik chairman is a homosexual.

In contrast to the official Fidesz-KDNP position that their unilaterally adopted changes to Hungary’s election laws made the election system more fair and proportional, Semjén acknowledged that Fidesz had uniquely benefited from the changes.

“Of course, if it were a two-round electoral system then the opposition voters, be they from Jobbik or from the Socialists, could be accumulated behind a protest candidate. But the election is only a single round,” Semjén said.

Further emphasizing his governing coalition’s intentions to use every tool available to maintain their hegemony, Semjén said he’d like to simplify the by-mail voting procedures for ethnic Hungarians in neighboring countries (overwhelmingly Fidesz voters) and to simplify the so-called “simplified naturalization procedure” for those populations.  Semjén called reports that there were abuses of that naturalization system “lies,” and emphasized that while 940,000 people have received Hungarian citizenship through the scheme, 32,000 applications have been rejected and 55 cases have been brought to prosecution.