László Kövér is heard justifying gerrymandering on leaked recording

February 6, 2018

László Kövér is heard admitting gerrymandering on leaked recording
Photo: MTI/Csaba Krizsán

Speaker of the National Assembly László Kövér (pictured) supposedly admits gerrymandering before the 2014 election on a leaked recording published by the Politics Can Be Different (LMP)-tied Reflektor blog.

According to Reflektor blog, the recording was made some time in January 2017 at an unknown event. On the rather muffled recording, the Fidesz-founder Kövér, who is considered by some as the moral compass of the party, is heard saying that “it’s good if the opposition doesn’t have a chance [in the election]” and admits that there was some “geographical juggling” regarding the election law.

The full transcript of the recording reads below:

Kövér: It’s good if the opposition doesn’t have a chance. Naturally, I’m saying this as a politician of the governing party, every governing party politician says or at least thinks the same. At most, they don’t dare to say it openly. I only say this in this circle. God forbid, that they have a chance! What they say about the reform of the election law, well I don’t say that there is or was no geographical juggling there, but there was just as much juggling as there was in the ‘90 law which was created by the socialists. We haven’t done in the past 26 years, don’t do and have no intention of doing anything that others wouldn’t have done before us. So if democracy hasn’t been at risk so far, then neither is it at risk right now.

Member of the audience: So between two elections the governing party is omnipotent?

Kövér: Within legal boundaries, yes. [incomprehensible speech]

Member of the audience: Fidesz technically makes the laws as well.

Kövér: But when does it happen any other way? Governments make the laws.

Index.hu tried to contact Kövér to find out whether it is really him who is heard on the recording and if so, exactly what did Kövér mean by “geographical juggling” and what are the examples of such activity. The news site has yet to receive an answer from the Speaker of the National Assembly.

Meanwhile, the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) filed a report with the police for election fraud. According to MSZP board member Balázs Bárány, Kövér’s statement amounts to a confession. The sole purpose of the modification of electoral districts was to give Fidesz an advantage in the 2014 election as the current borders of the electoral districts havens historical, cultural or geographical justification, Bárány argues. “The aim is clear, a Fidesz voter’s vote must be worth more than that of an opposition voter,” Bárány told index.hu.

Bárány recalled that in 2014 the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) listed all the problems regarding the Hungarian elections in a comprehensive report. Bárány argues that now Kövér has admitted one of OSCE’s findings holds true, the report’s other findings should be discussed as well.