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Fidesz MP submits election bill on single-round electoral system

Group leader of ruling Fidesz, Janos Lazar submitted a bill for a single-round mixed election system and a downsized parliament on Sunday evening.

The plan is to reduce the number of lawmakers in Hungary’s next parliament to 199 from 386, according to the bill posted on parliament’s website.

Voters are to elect 106 lawmakers in individual constituencies and 93 from national party lists, according to the bill.

Hungarian citizens abroad, including ethnic Hungarians residing in neighbouring countries, would cast a single vote for a national party list.

There are to be 18 individual constituencies in Budapest and 12 in Pest County under the plan, down from the present 32 and 16, respectively. Depending on the proportion of the electorate, other counties will comprise between 2 and 7 individual constituencies, down from the current maximum of 13.

No constituency boundary would exceed the borders of counties.

The single-round election is first-past-the-post: if turnout is higher than half of the constituency’s electorate the candidate who secures a majority wins the constituency.

Under the new system, candidates in individual constituencies would have to collect at least 1,500 nomination slips instead of the current 750.

Parties which field candidates in at least nine counties and Budapest - at least 27 constituencies - will have the right to draw up national lists.

The 5% threshold for a party’s parliamentary mandate is to be maintained. But a new rule states that the threshold will be set at 10 percent for parties running a joint list.

The bill also maintains the national compensation party list.

The national self-governments of Hungary’s national minorities can set up a single national list, for which the recommendation slips of at least one percent, or a maximum of 1,500 slips of those registered as a voter for the national minority, are required.

Should a national minority fail to win a seat on its national list, the new bill introduces the post of national minority "spokesperson" in parliament, a post held by the party’s top candidate.

The new electoral law is expected to take effect on January 1, 2012.

Hungary is scheduled to hold the next general election in 2014.