By Dr Alison Smith, St Antony’s College, Oxford
Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, celebrated a historic victory today after his right-wing Fidesz/Christian Democrat coalition retained its two-thirds majority in the Hungarian Parliament, winning 133 out of 199 seats. Fidesz’s nearest competitors, the centre-left alliance, Unity, secured just 38 seats, while the far-right Jobbik won 23 seats. Full results are available here.
The Hungarian election of April 6 2014 was the first to be held under the new electoral system, which almost halved the available number of seats from 386 to 199. The electoral system remains an ‘unlinked’ (non-compensatory) mixed system, but 106 seats are now allocated through single member districts (SMD), while 93 are allocated through party lists. The new system is less proportional than the old system (which allocated half the seats through party lists and had smaller single member districts); thus Orban was able to retain his two-thirds majority despite winning 800,000 fewer votes than in 2010.
There are few real checks and balances in the Hungarian political system, which is unicameral and has an indirectly elected head of state. Concerns have been already raised about judicial independence and media freedom. Securing a two-thirds majority in the parliament allows the ruling party to engage in a further bout of constitutional tinkering.