State bodies are not required to remain neutral during an election campaign under the constitution, the supreme court, the Kúria, said on Monday, approving a National Election Committee ruling rejecting a complaint by opposition candidate for Budapest mayor Gergely Karácsony.
Karácsony submitted a complaint to the Metropolitan Election Committee because Gergely Gulyás, the head of the prime minister’s office, had told a press briefing on September 12 that an agreement between current Budapest Mayor István Tarlós and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán was a political agreement which was “valid only between those two”. Gulyás also said that “in order to be suitable for the post of Budapest mayor one must seek cooperation with the government and someone like Gergely Karácsony, who rejects the possibility of cooperation and considers the post as an opportunity for fighting a battle, is not suitable.”
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Karácsony said Gulyás’ remarks violated the principles of fair election and equal chances for candidates. The Metropolitan Election Committee referred the complaint to the National Election Committee which rejected it on the ground that cooperation between the Budapest mayor and the government was stipulated by law.
Karácsony filed an appeal for review by the Kúria which has made a final decision approving the National Election Committee ruling.
In the featured photo: PMO Herad Gergely Gulyás. Photo by Attila Kovács/MTI