President of the Republic of Hungary János Áder has set April 8 as the date of the country’s upcoming general elections, the earliest possible Sunday that the ballot can be held under the law. The election campaign will officially start 50 days before the date of the ballot – on Feb. 17.
Hungary’s 7.9 million voters will have the opportunity to cast two ballots in the single-round election deciding 199 seats. One ballot directly elects lawmakers in 106 individual constituencies. A formula is used to allocate the remaining seats based on votes cast for a party list. Prospective candidates must secure 500 signatures by March 5 to run in an individual constituency. A party may draw up a national list if they have at least one individual candidate in 27 constituencies in at least nine counties and Budapest. Parties must submit their national lists to the National Election Committee (NVB) by March 6.
Hungarian voters with an address in Hungary who reside abroad must go to an embassy or consulate to cast their ballots on the day of the election. Beforehand they must register with a local notary by March 31. Non-Hungarian residents who have Hungarian citizenship will also have the right to vote. They must register with the National Election Office (NVI) by March 24. Ballot papers will be sent to voters and these must be mailed to either a Hungarian foreign mission by the end of the voting period, to a local constituency election office or to the National Election Office by April 7. Voters who register themselves as a member of a national minority will cast their ballot for the list of the respective minority rather than for national parties. A national minority may field candidates on a list with the recommendation of at least one percent of their national minority voters.
Parties need at least 5 percent of votes cast for their list in order to get seats in parliament. Under the constitution, the founding session of the new parliament will be convened by the president of the republic within 30 days of the general election. The prime minister will be elected by a majority of lawmakers based on the president’s proposal. Parliament will approve the government’s programme and elect the prime minister simultaneously. Under the law, Hungary’s new parliament must be formed by May 8th at the latest.
image via mti