At a joint press conference held at the headquarters of the National Election Office today, Movement for a Modern Hungary (MOMA) chairman Lajos Bokros and National Election Office president Ilona Palffy told reporters that a third counting of MOMA’s election participation endorsements has confirmed the party’s ineligibility to participate in Hungary’s European Parliament elections scheduled for May 25.
On April 25 MOMA announced that, according to the National Election Office, it had failed to receive the 20,000 valid signatures needed in order to participate in Hungary’s European Parliament elections. This came as a surprise to MOMA supporters who had collected 24,264 signatures during the two week period prescribed by the new election law. (In the previous EP election parties had four weeks to collect signed endorsement cards from voters).
The National Election Office’s initial count yielded 18,484 valid signatures endorsing the participation of MOMA candidates in the EP election. MOMA’s party leadership reacted to the announcement by requesting a re-count, which the President of the National Election Office Ilona Palffy ordered take place on 22 April in the presence of three MOMA representatives. The first recount yielded a total of 18,633 valid signatures, 149 more than during the original count but still 1,366 short of the 20,000 required. A second recount conducted after the National Election Office’s ruling had come into force yielded an additional 45 valid signatures–some 1,320 signatures shy of the 20,000 required by law.
“Movement for a Modern Hungary would like to express its appreciation to president of the National Election Office Dr. Ilona Palffy for carrying out the third and final counting of signatures endorsing MOMA to participate in the European Parliament elections. We would also like to express our thanks to the staff of the National Election Office for carrying out the third re-counting of the signatures. The third re-counting of signatures has made it clear that MOMA was unable to gather the necessary 20,000 signatures needed in order to participate in the 2014 European Parliament elections. However, it is important to note that each of the three separate tabulations [performed by the National Election Office] produced different results. The election office’s first counting found 18,484 valid signatures and the second counting found 149 additional valid signatures. In accordance with regulations, the National Election Office’s official counting was based on the second counting. The third counting revealed an additional 45 valid signatures for a total of 18,678 valid signatures. The three different results produced by the three separate countings suggests the legitimacy of the signature review process may be compromised – even if in our case the final count does not work in our favor. MOMA would also thank those whose endorsements have bestowed us with respect confirming our party’s role as a recognized and respected participant in Hungary’s political scene,” MOMA chairman Lajos Bokros told reporters.