Abstracts and References

Published: 03 August 2015

Geography of the new electoral system and changing voting patterns in Hungary

Zoltán Kovács, György Vida


After nearly half a century of single-party communist dictatorship Hungary returned to a pluralist democratic system in 1989-1990. The electoral system that was designed hastily before the first post-communist elections held in March 1990 remained intact for two decades. Combining geographical representation (single candidates) and proportional party representation (party-lists) according to the German model, it provided a solid basis for six consecutive parliamentary elections. However, due to demographic processes and migration the size of electoral districts became very much disproportionate already by the early 2000s. Nevertheless, the elaboration of a new electoral law became possible only after the landslide victory of Orbán’s conservative party (FIDESZ) in 2010, with two-thirds majority in the Hungarian parliament. The new law was finally accepted by the house in November 2011. The mixed nature of the electoral system was kept, however, the total number of MPs was nearly halved, and the boundaries of the single member electoral districts were redrawn substantially. The new electoral system was tested in the parliamentary elections in April 2014. This paper provides an overview about the changes of the Hungarian electoral system and its consequences for political representation. Based on the results of the 2014 Hungarian parliamentary elections the paper also explores the geographical bias of the new Hungarian electoral system with special attention to malapportionment and partisan gerrymandering.

Keywords: electoral geography, Hungarian electoral system, geographical bias, voting patterns;

Acta Geobalcanica | Volume 1 | Issues 2 | Pp: 55-64;


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