Hungary’s ruling parties have accused radical nationalist Jobbik of planning to restrict voting rights by tying the suffrage to education if it comes to power.
Speaking at a press conference, István Hollik, a lawmaker of the co-ruling Christian Democrats (KDNP), cited a social media post by Jobbik MP Dóra Dúró in which she noted that her party’s election programme “flags” tying the suffrage to those who have completed their primary education. Such a measure would strip tens of thousands of their voting rights, one of the most basic civil rights, Hollik said.
Jobbik “looks down on” those who are less educated, Hollik said and accused the opposition party of planning to humiliate and segregate them if it comes to power. If Jobbik’s politics were about more than just furthering its own interests and would take national interests into consideration, the party would be proposing ways to improve primary school graduation rates, the lawmaker insisted.
Asked if Jobbik’s proposal was aimed against Hungary’s Roma population, Hollik suggested that Jobbik was suggesting the measure because it believed Roma voters felt that “they cannot count on” the party.
Asked about the proposal at a press conference on another subject, Jobbik lawmaker Gábor Staudt said it was something Jobbik had been considering for some time and a part of an electoral law package that was still being worked on. He said the proposal should be put to debate.
Staudt argued that it was fair to consider whether those who had failed to complete their general education were in a position to make decisions about issues affecting the country. Just as someone applying for Hungarian citizenship has to pass an exam, those who were born in Hungary and want to vote should also have general educational qualifications, he argued.