Elections in Hungary

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Elections in Hungary are held at two levels: general elections to elect the members of the National Assembly, and local elections to elect local authorities. European Parliament elections are also held every 5 years.

General Elections system between 1990 and 2010[edit]

The last National Assembly (Országgyűlés) elected according to the old system was elected in 2010 and had been working until 2014. The National Assembly had 386 members, elected for a four-year term. 176 members were elected in single-seat constituencies, 152 by proportional representation in multi-seat (or Regional seat) constituencies and there were 58 so-called compensation seats (or National list seats). For the latter two, an election threshold of 5% is in effect. Or in case of two parties' joint list, the threshold is 10%, in case of three or more parties: 15%.

General elections in Hungary were held in two rounds until 2010, with a second, run-off round taking place two weeks after the first. From 2014 a one-round system replaced the formerly existing system.

First round[edit]

In the first round, each voter may cast

  • one vote for one candidate running for the seat in the single-seat constituency of his/her residence;
  • one vote for a party list established in the multi-seat constituency of his/her residence.

After the polls close:

  • The result in single-seat constituencies where voter turnout was below 50% is declared invalid, and all candidates for the first round enter the second round.
  • Any single-seat constituency where turnout was over 50% and one candidate received over 50% of the votes is won by that candidate, and no second round takes place.
  • In all remaining single-seat constituencies (i.e., where turnout exceeded 50% but no candidate received over 50% of votes), the candidates who finished the first three plus any more candidates having received at least 15% of votes may enter the second round (a kind of runoff voting).
  • The result for multi-seat constituencies where the turnout was over 50% is produced. (If this means all multi-seat constituencies, the parties passing the election threshold can already be determined together with the distribution of the seats from the multi-seat constituencies.)

Second round[edit]

In the second round, each voter may cast

  • one vote for one candidate still standing in the single-seat constituency (if the seat wasn't won in the first round);
  • one vote for a party list in the multi-seat constituency (if the first round was invalid due to insufficient turnout).

After the polls close:

  • Any seats in single-seat constituencies where turnout was below 25%, or where the first two candidates received an equal number of votes, will remain vacant.
  • All other single-seat constituencies will be won by the candidate who received the most votes.
  • The result of multi-seat constituencies where turnout was below 25% is declared invalid, and the seats from that constituency are added to the compensation seats.
  • The parties passing the threshold are identified based on multi-seat constituencies with a valid result. Seats from these constituencies are distributed.
  • Parties having passed the threshold are eligible for the compensation seats; these are distributed based on
    • the sum of votes remaining in the multi-seat constituencies after the distribution of the seats, plus
    • the sum of votes cast for losing candidates of each party in the first valid round of each single-seat constituency (similar to the scorporo system). (Since the first valid round is taken into account, votes are still counted for a candidate who is eliminated in the first round, or who steps down after a valid first round in favour of another candidate with more chances to win the second round.)

Changes in the electoral system from 2012 onwards[edit]

The electoral laws were changed in 2012. The first elections to be held according to the new system were organized in 2014. The 2014 elections were held on 6 April. The following significant changes had been issued in the electoral system:

  • One round instead of two rounds.
  • No 50% or 25% turnout is necessary; formerly, a turnout of 50% was needed for the first round and 25% for the second round.
  • 199 seats, decreased from 386, being 51.6% from before
    • 106 constituency seats, decreased from 176, increased from 45.6% to 53.3% of seats
    • 93 party-list seats, including minority-list seats, decreased from the 210 regional list and national list seats which were merged, decreased from 54.4% to 46.7% of all seats
  • 5% threshold remains for party lists, 10% threshold for joint list if two parties, 15% threshold for joint list of three or more parties
  • Minorities will be able to set a minority-list, on the elections they only need to reach the 5% threshold out of all minority votes, and not out of all party-list votes, which - practically - makes it possible to send only few minority representatives (maybe only one) to the National Assembly (for about 1% of all votes, minorities can send MPs to the National Assembly)

Minorities, that will not reach the 5% threshold (out of all minority-list votes, not out of all votes) or will not get at least one seat, will be able to send a minority spokesman to the National Assembly from 2014, who has right only to speak but not to vote. Note, that getting one seat out of the 93 is much harder for minorities, than reaching the 5% threshold out of the minority votes, because one seat means a little bit more than 1% of all the party- and minority-lists (while the 5% of the minority votes is expected much less than 1% of the total votes as there are much less than 20% minority voters). This minority spokesman solution gives the opportunity to minorities to speak in the National Assembly even if they cannot gain the approximately 1% of all votes. Practically German and Romani minorities have the chance to have MPs, the other 13 minorities will have minority spokesman.

  • Constituency borders - changed, partly because of the reduced number of constituencies (from 176 to 106), partly because of the demographic changes in the proportion of the population of constituencies in the last 20 years. In the old system the population of the smallest constituency was 33077, while the population of the largest one was 98167, which meant that the constituency vote of people living in larger constituencies was worth 3 times less than of those living in smaller constituencies. In the new system the difference between the population of the largest and smallest constituencies is lower than 30% (79208 and 109955) and the standard deviation of the population of the constituencies has also reduced from 20% to 8%.[1] The average population of constituencies used to be 57089 and will be 94789 in 2014. The constituency borders do not (necessarily) coincide with city or district borders, however they have to coincide with county borders and with the border of Budapest (so the 19 counties and Budapest are further divided to constituencies). Budapest used to consist of 32 constituencies and will consist of 18 in 2014.
  • Registration - although it had been planned previously - will not be generally required for voting[2] after being found unconstitutional,[3] only those Hungarian citizens will have to register who do not reside in Hungary (do not have Hungarian address card), this registration will be valid for 10 years or until the change of address and will be automatically extended in case of voting (so practically Hungarian citizens outside Hungary will have to re-register only in case of not voting twice or in case of changing home address)

Nomination of candidates[edit]

  • general requirement: at least 18 year old, Hungarian citizen
    • for constituency seats: at least 1000 proposal coupons
    • party-list (or national-list) : parties, that have set candidates in at least 27 constituencies (out of the 106) in at least 9 county (out of 19) and Budapest
    • minority-list: minority councils can set minority-lists without any restrictions (one minority-list per minority)
      • minorities, that will be able to set minority-list in 2014: Armenian, Bulgarian, Croatian, German, Greek, Polish, Romani, Romanian, Ruthen, Serbian, Slovakian, Slovenian, Ukrainian)


On Hungarian elections citizens can vote for a party-list (or a minority-list), and in case of residing in Hungary (which is checked by showing the address card) citizens can also vote for a constituency candidate who will be responsible for the local community in the National Assembly.

  • At least 18 year old Hungarian citizens with Hungarian residence
    • one vote for a party-list
    • one vote for a constituency candidate
  • At least 18 year old Hungarian citizens without Hungarian residence
    • one vote for a party-list
  • At least 18 year old Hungarian citizens with Hungarian residence registered as minority voter
    • one vote for a constituency candidate
    • one vote
      • either for a party-list
      • or for a minority-list

Implementation of voting[edit]

  • at local polling stations
    • Hungarian citizens with Hungarian residence (address card) staying in Hungary
      • showing the ID card -> being able to vote for a party-list (or a minority-list)
      • showing the address card -> being able to vote for a constituency candidate
  • at embassies, consulates
    • Hungarian citizens with Hungarian residence (address card) staying abroad
      • showing the ID card -> being able to vote for a party-list (or a minority-list)
      • showing the address card -> being able to vote for a constituency candidate
  • by mail
    • Hungarian citizens without Hungarian address card
      • registering for the elections by mail or electronically (valid for 10 years or until change of residential address, validity automatically extends by 10 years in case of voting), registered citizens receive the voting sheet (only the party-list) by mail, which they fulfill and send back to the election office.


In case of the 106 constituency seats, the candidate that receives the most votes (not necessarily more than 50%) in the given constituency, obtains the constituency seat and will be responsible for that local region in the National Assembly. In case of the 93 party-list seats, parties receive seats in proportion to the votes received out of all the party-list and minority-list votes. These numbers of seats obtained by the parties are calculated according to the D'Hondt method after checking out whether the party has reached the 5% threshold out of all the party-list votes and whether the minority has reached the 5% threshold out of all minority votes. If a minority-lists cannot obtain at least one seat then the first candidate on the minority-list will be minority spokesman, who has right to speak in the National Assembly but is not allowed to vote.

It is possible that the same person is a constituency candidate and a party-list candidate in the same time. If this person has obtained the seat in their constituency and would also obtain a seat because of the party-list that they are listed on then the next candidate in the party-list replaces the candidate that already has obtained a constituency seat. So for example someone being the 50th on a party-list can obtain a seat in the National Assembly even if their party has only won 30 party-list seats, if at least 20 candidates listed earlier than them win in their local constituency. (this rule has simplified as there is no county level between the constituency level and the national level)

Generally big parties place their most important (national level) politicians only on the party-lists, because these people want to deal only with national level issues (like becoming minister). They represent citizens who voted for their parties and not the citizens of their local community, which is the responsibility of those MP-s that obtain constituency seats. On the other hand, leaders of small parties usually qualify both on their party-lists and in their local constituencies because of maximizing votes; the leader of a small party might be much more famous or much more popular than an ordinary local politician of a big party.


A by-election is an election held to fill a constituency seat that has become vacant between regularly scheduled elections. In case of the vacancy of a party-list seat, the next person on the list that is still interested, gets to the National Assembly.[4] This rule has not changed. Note, that by-elections from 2012 are held according to the new system, so only one round is held and no minimum turnout is needed, while the constituencies are the same until 2014.

Latest general elections[edit]

e • d Summary of the 6 April 2014 election to the National Assembly (Országgyűlés)
Parties and coalitions Party list Constituency Total seats
Votes  % +/− Seats Votes Seats Seats +/−  % +/−
FideszKDNP party alliance
Fidesz–KDNP pártszövetség
Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Union (Fidesz)
Fidesz – Magyar Polgári Szövetség
2,264,780 44.87 Decrease7.86 30 2,165,342 87 117 Decrease110 66.83 Decrease1.3
Christian Democratic People's Party (KDNP)
Kereszténydemokrata Néppárt
7 9 16 Decrease20
Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP)
Magyar Szocialista Párt
1,290,806 25.57 Increase6.27 21 1,317,879 8 29 Decrease30 19.10 Increase3.82
Together – Party for a New Era (Együtt)
Együtt – A Korszakváltók Pártja
New 2 1 3 New
Democratic Coalition (DK)
Demokratikus Koalíció
3 1 4
Dialogue for Hungary (PM)
Párbeszéd Magyarországért
1 0 1
Hungarian Liberal Party (MLP)
Magyar Liberális Párt
1 0 1
Movement for a Better Hungary (Jobbik)
Jobbik Magyarországért Mozgalom
1,020,476 20.22 Increase3.55 23 1,000,637 0 23 Decrease24 11.56 Decrease0.62
Politics Can Be Different (LMP)
Lehet Más a Politika
269,414 5.34 Decrease2.14 5 244,191 0 5 Decrease11 2.51 Decrease1.64
Hungarian Workers' Party
Magyar Munkáspárt
28,323 0.56 Increase0.45 0 12,716 0 0 Steady0 0 0
The Homeland Not For Sale Movement Party (HNEM)
A Haza Nem Eladó Mozgalom Párt
23,507 0.47 New 0 23,037 0 0 New 0 0
Alliance of Mária Seres (SMS)
Seres Mária Szövetségesei
22,219 0.44 Decrease0.45 0 20,229 0 0 Steady0 0 0
Party of Greens (Greens)
Zöldek Pártja
18,557 0.37 Increase0.37 0 9,392 0 0 Steady0 0 0
Social Democratic Hungarian Civic Party (Soc Dems)
Szociáldemokraták Magyar Polgári Pártja
15,073 0.3 Increase0.22 0 12,232 0 0 Steady0 0 0
Together 2014 Party
Együtt 2014 Párt
14,085 0.28 New 0 6,361 0 0 New 0 0
Party for a Fit and Healthy Hungary (SEM)
Sportos és Egészséges Magyarországért Párt
12,563 0.25 New 0 11,746 0 0 New 0 0
Community for Social Justice People's Party (KTI)
Közösség a Társadalmi Igazságosságért Néppárt
10,969 0.22 New 0 10,551 0 0 New 0 0
Democratic Community of Welfare and Freedom (JESZ)
Jólét és Szabadság Demokratikus Közösség
9,925 0.2 New 0 13,051 0 0 New 0 0
Gypsy Party of Hungary (MCP)
Magyarországi Cigány Párt
8,810 0.17 New 0 9,030 0 0 New 0 0
Independent Smallholders Party (FKGP)
Független Kisgazdapárt
8,083 0.16 Increase0.16 0 7,175 0 0 Steady0 0 0
Unity Party (ÖP)
Összefogás Párt
6,552 0.13 Increase0.06 0 6,887 0 0 Steady0 0 0
New Dimension Party (ÚDP)
Új Dimenzió Párt
2,100 0.04 New 0 1,706 0 0 New 0 0
New Hungary Party (ÚMP)
Új Magyarország Párt
1,578 0.03 New 0 2,018 0 0 New 0 0
Others and Independent candidates 34,432 0 0 Decrease1 0 Decrease0.26
13 minority lists (needed 22,022 votes/list for a mandate) 19,543 0.38
Total (turnout 61.73% Decrease2.63pp) 5,047,363 100% 93 4,908,608 106 199 Decrease187 100%
Source: National Election Office (100.00% reporting)

Past elections[edit]

The previous general elections (2010) in the country resulted in an overwhelming majority win for the conservative opposition party Fidesz (which gained a 2/3 supermajority by winning the 68% of the seats (52.7% of the votes)), as well the dramatic rise of the far-right newcomers Jobbik (12.2% of seats, 16.7% of votes), who were just 2.5% short of the former ruling Hungarian Socialist Party (15.3% of seats, 19.3% of votes).

The green liberal, social progressivist Politics Can Be Different (4.1% of seats, 7.5% of votes) was also newcomer, while the liberal conservative formerly parliamentary Hungarian Democratic Forum (2.7% of votes) could not achieve the 5% threshold, and the formerly parliamentary (and also member of the coalition government before 2009) Alliance of Free Democrats was not able to run on the election because of the large decrease of popularity.

This election has changed the balance of power in the National Assembly of Hungary the most significantly since the end of the communist one-party system, as two brand new political forces could have got to the National Assembly while two formerly parliamentary parties fell out and the support of previous ruling party had significantly decreased (from 48.2% to 15.3% of seats, from 40.3% to 19.3% of votes).

Composition of the National Assembly since 1990[edit]

33 93 21 21 164 44 10
209 69 20 22 38 26 2
134 24 148 17 48 14 1
178 20 164 24
190 20 141 23 11 1
59 16 227 36 47 1
29 9 5 117 16 23

Figure shows the inaugural session of the terms. Later few changes can happen. For example, in 1993, the nationalist-radicalist members of MDF quit the party and founded the MIÉP which had got to the National Assembly only once in 1998. In 2011 some MSZP members quit the party led by former prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsány and founded the DK. In some instances vacancy happens. In case of the vacancy of the constituency seats by-elections must be held in the mentioned constituency, which may change the composition of the National Assembly.

Prime ministers and their governments since 1989[edit]

Parties   MSZMP / MSZP   Fidesz   MDF   Independent

# Picture Name From Until Political Party Cabinet Assembly
Miklós Németh
23 October 1989 23 May 1990 MSZP Németh
35 Statue Antall József 02.jpg József Antall 23 May 1990 12 December 1993
MDF Antall
1 (1990)
36 Péter Boross 2014.JPG Péter Boross
12 December 1993 21 December 1993 MDF Boross
Péter Boross 21 December 1993 15 July 1994
37 Gyula Horn (2007).jpg Gyula Horn 15 July 1994 8 July 1998 MSZP Horn
2 (1994)
38 Viktor Orbán cropped.jpg Viktor Orbán 8 July 1998 27 May 2002 Fidesz Orbán I
3 (1998)
39 Péter Medgyessy 27 May 2002 29 September 2004
Independent Medgyessy
4 (2002)
40 Gyurcsany Ferenc-mszp-2-cropped.jpg Ferenc Gyurcsány 29 September 2004 9 June 2006 MSZP Gyurcsány I
9 June 2006 14 April 2009
Gyurcsány II
5 (2006)
41 Bajnai Jerusalem.jpg Gordon Bajnai 14 April 2009 29 May 2010 Independent Bajnai
(38) Viktor Orbán cropped.jpg Viktor Orbán 29 May 2010 6 June 2014 Fidesz Orbán II
6 (2010)
9 June 2014 Incumbent Orbán III
7 (2014)

1 SZDSZ left the Gyurcsány II Cabinet on 20 April 2008 and kept supporting it externally.

2 The Bajnai Cabinet was supported externally by SZDSZ.

Local elections[edit]

Elections for mayors and municipalities (Hungarian: Helyi önkormányzati választások) occur every four years in the autumn following the general elections. On the local elections, the following are elected directly by the voters:

in Budapest

  • Lord Mayor of Budapest (now since 2010: István Tarlós, between 1990 and 2010: Gábor Demszky)
  • members of the City Council of Budapest (since 2010: 33, 1994-2010: 66, 1990-1994: 88)
    • voters vote for party-lists
  • Mayors of the districts of Budapest
  • members of the District Council
    • districts of Budapest are divided to election zones (not to be confused with the constituencies of the country), and voters can vote for one of the candidates representing their election zone in the District Council

in the towns/cities with county rank:

  • Mayor of the town/city
  • members of the Town/City Council
    • voters vote for party-lists

in the counties (excluding towns/cities with county rank):

  • members of the County Council
    • voters vote for party-lists
  • Mayors of the cities, towns, villages
  • members of the City/Town/Village Council
    • cities, towns and villages larger than 10000 inhabitants are divided to election zones (not to be confused with the constituencies of the country), and voters can vote for one of the candidates representing their election zone in the City/Town Council
    • towns and villages smaller than 10000 inhabitants are not divided to election zones, in these villages voters can choose as many candidates out of all the candidates as many seats there are in the Village Council, so for instance in a Village Council, where 7 seats are available and there are 15 candidates, the voters can vote for 1 to 7 candidates. Exception if the village is administratively part of a town or city, in this case the village has got one seat in the Town/City Council and villagers can only vote for one candidate representing their village in the Town/City Council just like in case of the election zones of the towns and cities. In this case the village is considered to be one of the election zones of the town/city.

The chairman of the County Council is elected by the members of the Council, unlike the Lord Mayor of Budapest or the Mayors of towns/cities with county rank, which are elected directly by people.

Latest local elections[edit]

The last but one election of local authorities took place in 2006 amidst the protests and demonstrations against the government of Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány.

Presidential elections[edit]

The President of Hungary, who has a largely ceremonial role under the country's constitution, is elected by the members of the National Assembly to serve for a term of five years (maximum two times), and has to quit their political party (if they have one) in order to be impartial and able to express the unity of the nation (so the "Political Party" column refers to their party membership, prior to becoming president).

Presidents of Hungary:

# Picture Name From Until Political party Notes
Szuros matyas.jpg Mátyás Szűrös 18 October 1989 2 May 1990 Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) interim president

(until the formation of the first freely elected National Assembly)

1 Goncz arpad.jpg Árpád Göncz 2 May 1990 4 August 2000 Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ) president of the republic
2 Ferenc Mádl.jpg Ferenc Mádl 4 August 2000 5 August 2005 Non-partisan president of the republic
3 László Sólyom.jpg László Sólyom 5 August 2005 6 August 2010 Non-partisan president of the republic
4 Pál Schmitt (2011).jpg Pál Schmitt 6 August 2010 2 April 2012
Fidesz president of the republic
KoverLaszlo2000.jpg László Kövér 2 April 2012 10 May 2012 Fidesz acting president
5 Ader Janos.jpg János Áder 10 May 2012 Incumbent Fidesz president of the republic

Parties   Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP)   Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ)   Fidesz

The non-partisan Ferenc Mádl had been elected by the Fidesz-FKgp-MDF government in 2000, while the also non-partisan László Sólyom (former President of the Constitutional Court) had been elected president as the opposition Fidesz's and MDF's candidate in 2005. The minor party of the coalition government (SZDSZ) did not support the superior coalition government party's (MSZP) candidate, therefore Mr. Sólyom could win as an opposition candidate.

European Parliament elections[edit]

Since the EU expansion to Romania and Bulgaria, Hungary delegates 22 members to the European Parliament based on the Nice treaty. Any EU citizens with residence in Hungary have the right to vote for a party-list. In case of the EU elections there are no constituency votes.

The latest EP election in Hungary took place on 7 June 2009, which was the second one at all, after the 2004 EP election, which took place on 13 June 2004, bit more than a month after the EU expansion to 10 Eastern European countries.


Summary of the 2004 and 2009 European Parliament elections
Parties Votes 2004 % 2004 Seats 2004 Votes 2009 % 2009 Seats 2009 Difference
National Party European party
Fidesz - Hungarian Civic Union (Fidesz)[5] EPP 1,457,750 47.40 12 1,632,309 56,36 14 +2
Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) PES 1,054,921 34.30 9 503,140 17,37 4 -5
Jobbik none did not run - - 427,773 14,77 3 +3
Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF) ECR 164,025 5.33 1 153,660 5.31 1 0
Politics Can Be Different (LMP)[6] none did not exist - - 75,522 2.61 0 -
Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ) ELDR 237,908 7.74 2 62,527 2.16 0 -2
Hungarian Communist Workers' Party (Munkáspárt) none[7] 56,221 1.83 0 27,817 0.96 0 0
Gypsy Alliance Party (MCF) none did not run - - 13,431 0.46 0 -
Total (turnout 36,31%)[8] 3,075,450 100.0 24 2,896,179 100.0 22
Source: Valasztas.hu


The Constitution of Hungary prescribes two ways to hold a referendum (Article 8[9]):

  • Parliament shall order a national referendum upon the motion of at least two hundred thousand electors
  • Parliament may order a national referendum upon the motion of the President of the Republic, the Government or one hundred thousand electors.

The Constitution imposes a number of prohibitions on matters on which a referendum can be held, including amending Constitution, budget, taxing, obligations from international agreements, military operations, etc.[9]

Required voter turnout for the referendum to be valid is 50%. The decision made by a referendum is binding on the Parliament.[9]

Past referendums[edit]

There was one referendum in People's Republic of Hungary: referendum of 1989. There were 4 questions, all 4 passed.

There were 5 referendums in modern Hungary:

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Az új választókerületek népesség-arányai". 
  2. ^ "Under pressure, Hungary PM drops contested voting rules". Reuters. 4 January 2013. 
  3. ^ "Hungarian voter registration found unconstitutional". 
  4. ^ "10. A megüresedett mandátum betöltése". Nemzeti Választási Iroda - (in Hungarian). 
  5. ^ Common list with the Christian Democratic People's Party (KDNP) in the 2009 election
  6. ^ Common list with the Humanist Party (HP)
  7. ^ The Hungarian Communist Workers' Party left the European Left in May
  8. ^ In the previous election in 2004 turnout was 38.5%
  9. ^ a b c "The Fundamental Law of Hungary" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-01-02. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 

External links[edit]