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Hungarian citizens abroad: Fodder for election fraud?

Government

Could fraud happen in the national parliamentary elections next year? That’s definitely a concern of the opposition Együtt 2014-Dialogue for Hungary coalition, one certain to cause more speculation due to recent apparently contradictory comments by National Election Office (NVI) President Ilona Pálffy...

On Hír TV this weekend, Pálffy explained from Baile Tusnad that the ballot-casting procedure for dual-citizenship voters living abroad was easy – maybe *too* easy. Up to 15 days before the election, said Pálffy, completed ballots will be submitted into a mailbox-like “urn” at embassies and consulates with no proof of identification needed.

A day later, Pálffy sidestepped her previous statement on the pages of Népszava by detailing the complicated procedure for submitting ballots via post and subsequent validity check by authorities. She pointed out that “All over the world they vote by mail.”

Adding much ground for speculation was Zoltán Tóth, described as an “election expert,” on Klubrádió; this morning Tóth was quoted on the station’s website as describing a scenario in which ballots could simply be stolen before getting into the postal system. “The [electoral] regulatory environment … provides no guarantee for the citizen,” Tóth said.

The Together-Dialogue coalition has called upon the governing parties not to “play political games with Hungarian citizens abroad” and to develop a system which will fairly and transparently count votes from dual-citizenship voters.

Also in Romania this weekend was Fidesz Party Lawmaker Balázs Hidvéghi, who stated that some 233,000 dual-citizens had been sent information on the voting procedure for an election he called “a celebration of Hungarians.”

Hidvéghi previously said reported that nearly 500,000 applications for dual citizenship – about 60% from Romania – have been received by Hungarian authorities to date. Just over 5.1 million ballots were cast in the 2010 parliamentary elections, the last before the current dual-citizenship law was passed.

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