The opposition alliance pressed charges after several irregularities were found with the endorsement signatures of three of the smaller parties in the 5th electoral district. Porn tycoon György Gattyán’s Solution Movement (MeMo), Tibor Szanyi’s radical leftist ISZOMM (DRINKK), and György Gődény’s Party of Normal Life (NÉP) all had suspicious signatures according to the opposition’s analysis. They suspect ruling Fidesz to have cheated with the signature collection.
The 5th constituency of Budapest, consisting of the 6th and 7th districts, has long been considered an opposition stronghold where Lajos Oláh (DK) won in the previous two elections. Now, he is set to clash with Fidesz’s Balázs Norbert Kovács, besides Two Tailed Dog Party’s (MKKP) Roland Terdik, Mi Hazánk’s Gyula Popely, and MeMo’s Gergely Major.
FactAccording to the rules modified by Fidesz-KDNP’s majority, one candidate must field at least 500 signatures to be able to run in single-member constituencies. However, one voter may support multiple candidates.
After Oláh’s team checked the signatures of the other parties, they found several irregularities.
- Szilárd Rácz was the candidate of Munkáspárt (Labour Party)-ISZOMM coalition in the constituency, but only 208 people endorsed him. Of these, 127 were identical to the ones found on the Fidesz candidate’s sheets, which is odd not only because these two sides are radically opposite in terms of political principles, but also because in 56 cases the signatures were different from the names they belonged to. It was also noticed that the same activists collected Fidesz’s and Munkáspárt-ISZOMM’s collection sheets; there were sheets with the same handwriting and different names, and the same deceased citizen supported candidates of both parties.
- MEMO’s candidate, Gergely Róbert Major, who submitted some 861 signos, of which 505 were valid, allows him to run in the elections. However, within three hours – before the police took the sheets away – Lajos Oláh’s team found 26 instances where the signatures didn’t match the data. In addition, 11 names were found that were on MeMo, Fidesz, and Labor Party-ISZOMM sheets, but with different signatures.
- In regard to coronavirus measures and vaccination critic György Gődény’s Party of Normal Life (NÉP), they found several deceased people’s details, including one who was born 120 years ago. In addition, some of the collection forms contained names in alphabetical order (which could potentially indicate that they were copied from a database), and in 20 cases the same data was found with different signatures on the forms of other candidates. In the case of NÉP, the National Election Committee (NVB) itself filed a complaint. After deducting invalid endorsement signatures, NÉP’s candidate, Anikó Ferge, had to withdraw since she only had some 485 valid signatures.
In regard to NÉP and MeMo, a police investigation is underway. In MeMo’s case, police initiated the seizure of their signature collection sheets on suspicion of fraud.
According to Oláh’s depiction of the case, Fidesz was cheating together with the fake parties, but they were eventually caught.
In reaction, MeMo said they are not aware of their candidate having submitted false signatures.
György Gődény’s party, on the other hand, said that as long as they are not entitled to check the ID cards, signatures of those signing cannot be checked.
Fidesz said they complied with all the relevant laws and one person may support multiple parties.
MKKP to pay back state support due to suspicious signatures
Previously, the satirical, government-critical Two Tailed Dog Party (MKKP) returned a hefty amount of state support after roughly 400 signatures came from suspicious sources in one of the constituencies, resulting in the withdrawal of their candidate there. The party, famed for its fight against corruption, said they didn’t want to succeed with controversial methods. This just adds to other controversies the small party encountered when collecting signatures.
Fidesz’s controversial involvement in helping smaller parties with collecting signatures is not something of a trumped-up charge. Certain Fidesz opinion leaders (such as controversial columnist Zsolt Bayer) explicitly urged their voters to sign for smaller parties, including MKKP, in order to potentially divide votes to be given for the opposition alliance, thus weakening the opposition alliance’s chances.
featured image: one of NÉP’s signature collecing stands; via Göde Imre NÉP- Facebook