Elections 2018: Stress without Conflicts, Last-Minute Mobilization and Probably a Record High Turnout
Ábrahám Vass 2018.04.08.
After a heated campaign, parties haven’t given up mobilization even on election day. Voting today has been accompanied by nice weather, and there may be a record high turnout. At 3pm the turnout rate was 53,6%, while at 5pm 63,2%, both of which are records.
While in the American continent voting has already finished due to the time difference, at the Hungarian embassy in London voters needed to queue as much as two hours to be able to cast their ballots. In the US, 2377 Hungarians registered to vote, and among those registered, turnout was everywhere around 80-85%.
Parties haven’t given up mobilization on the day of the elections. Eligible voters received a number of automated calls and text messages mostly from Fidesz during the day encouraging them to go to vote and to put both “X”es on them.
Turnout compared to the 2010 and 2014 data. Graph: Magyar Nemzet.
All in all, the elections are proceeding in order without serious breaches; the biggest “issue” is the long queues voters have to face in certain polling places. Smaller abuses, however, did happen. In Gyöngyös, a committee member delegated by Fidesz deliberately didn’t stamp the ballot paper of a voter who showed up in a pro-Jobbik T-shirt. The committee member has been suspended. Moreover, in Budapest’s 1st and at the embassy in Rome, names of the withdrawn candidates reportedly weren’t crossed out on the ballot papers, which might confuse voters and make them put the “X” on an already withdrawn candidate.
Voters queue in Pécs. Photo: Sóki Tamás/ MTI.
The main question is that of which party or parties will benefit from the record high turnout. Analysts say that it would probably help larger opposition parties, but aired information suggest that the governing alliance did everything to mobilize their core support and address undecided voters as well. However, a number of experts suggests that the opposition might have broader resources. Everyone agrees, however that contrary to the last two parliamentary elections, today’s outcome is totally unpredictable.
Polling stations close at 7pm, the first, preliminary results are expected around 11 pm, but final results will not be available until next Saturday.