Orbán Delivers Letter Urging Hungarians Outside the EU to Vote in May Elections
Fanni Kaszás 2019.04.02.
According to Hungarian pro-government daily Magyar Nemzet, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is sending a letter to every Hungarian citizen living outside the European Union to inform them of their eligibility to vote in the European Parliament elections in May.
In the letter, Orbán highlights the importance of voters using the opportunity to participate in the upcoming “crucial elections” as a way to foster a sense of belonging. According to the website’s sources, the letters are already being delivered.
The voting rights of non-EU citizens for the EP elections were originally proposed by the European Council. The Hungarian government transposed the proposal into legislation allowing Hungarian citizens without an address in Hungary or the European Union to register and cast their votes.
Most Hungarians living beyond the border are dual citizens and thus have the right to vote. Many are living in another EU country (Slovakia, Romania, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria) and have the right to decide which country’s list of parties they would like to cast their votes towards. Index.hu pointed out that the amendment’s purpose may have been to win the votes of Hungarians living in Transcarpathia and Vojvodina, outside the EU.
For those with a Hungarian address, the announcement’s delivery began on 25 March. By April 5th, all 7,9 million Hungarian voters should receive the letter from the National Electoral Office (NVI). As of yesterday, the NVI registered 24 parties and organizations that were able to collect at least 20 thousand signatures to put up a list. Hungary is represented in the EP by 21 MEPs.
At the end of February, Viktor Orbán sent a letter to Hungarian voters to inform them of “Brussels’ plans.” The letter came in the wake of the government’s controversial “information campaign” focusing on Brussels’ plans which allegedly promote and facilitate immigration. The inflammatory campaign elicited a critical response from the European Commission.