All the rights secured to the citizens under the Constitution are worth nothing, and a mere bubble, except guaranteed to them by an independent and virtuous Judiciary.Andrew Jackson, 1822
The aim of Hungary Free and Fair is to protect pluralist democracy against authoritarian recidivism.
Hungary became a multiparty democracy after the first free elections in 1990. The transformation actually began in 1988 when Communist MPs became increasingly unwilling to act as a rubber stamp for government interests.
More than 30 years have passed and seven parliamentary elections have been held; Hungary joined the Council of Europe and the European Union. Both accessions were linked to the promise that Hungary’s integration into European institutions would prevent authoritarian recidivism.
Over the past eleven years a single political party has held a two-thirds majority in the parliament. The ruling party, Fidesz, has used its stable majority to reshape the entire institutional framework.
As a result of this transformation the past two parliamentary elections in 2014 and 2018 were widely condemned as free but not fair. Observers agree that “the main governing party enjoyed an undue advantage because of restrictive campaign regulations, biased media coverage, gerrymandered constituencies, and campaign activities that blurred the separation between the governing political party and the State“. These developments have undermined the contestants’ ability to compete on an equal basis and have hindered the voters’ ability to make a fully-informed choice. (see final reports of the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Missions 2014 and 2018)
A parliamentary assembly cannot represent the nation’s citizens or exercise meaningful legislative oversight if its members are elected in an unfair process. Unfair rules promote acquiescent MPs who comply with the authoritarian Regime. This is why the majority of the Hungarian MPs have begun to act, yet again, as a rubber stamp for government interests.
These developments violate a number of individual rights and liberties enshrined in the Hungarian constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights, but until today only a few cases have been brought before a court for an independent judgment.
Hungary Free and Fair is a non-governmental organisation whose members believe in facts, fair trials and the rule of law. These values empower us to stand up for our rights and to seek legal remedy in the courts. We embrace the challenge of confronting the government in an open dialogue and call upon the courts to base their decisions on the better arguments.
Budapest, March 15, 2021