Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz Party won a fourth successive term in office after the Hungarian general election that took place on Sunday, 3 April 2022. In yet another ‘super-majority,’ Fidesz continues to maintain control of the legislature after winning 135 of the 199 seats available. Allegations of corruption, the violation of the rule of law and electoral integrity, and the conflict in Ukraine have all been central focuses of the campaign. This Just the Facts looks at Hungary’s political system, the election campaign and the results of the 2022 General Election.
Background of Hungary’s Political System
Hungary’s political system is unicameral, meaning that its parliament (the National Assembly) is made up of one chamber. The National Assembly consists of 199 members, 106 of which are elected through single member constituency lists via the ‘first-past-the-post’ system, while the remaining 93 members are elected from national lists via proportional representation.
Under the Hungarian system, any party which succeeds in winning over two-thirds of the seats in Parliament is given the opportunity to form a ‘super-majority’ which allows the ruling party to pass laws and make constitutional changes on its own accord. The ruling Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Alliance party has held a super-majority since the April 2018 general election.
While the Prime Minister leads the government, Hungary also has a President who is the head of state. As a part of their duties, the President also has several powers, such as the ability to dissolve parliament, announce general elections and ratify law.
Since the May 2010 general election, Viktor Orbán has been Prime Minister of Hungary. He has led the right-wing, conservative Fidesz Party since May 2003. The current President is János Áder, who has held office since May 2012. He will be replaced by President-elect, Katalin Novák of the Fidesz Party, who will take office in May 2022, after winning the presidential election in March 2022.
Orbán, a strong believer of ‘illiberal democracy,’ has faced pressure from the EU over his erosion of fundamental rights, the rule of law and democratic backsliding in Hungary. For example, in July 2021, the EU began legal action against Hungary over “a controversial new law that has been widely condemned as discriminatory and anti-LGBTIQ”. There are also longstanding issues relating to undermining the independence of the judiciary and media freedoms.
A recent European Movement Ireland Just the Facts examined the tools the EU has to defend the rule of law.
2022 Election Campaign
Given concerns relating to the 2018 general election identified by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), it provided a full-scale monitoring mission during this year’s election. The organisation also referenced the politically charged environment and the need to provide for public confidence as primary reasons for its decision.
United for Hungary (also known as the United Opposition) was formed in December 2020 as the main opposition participating in the 2022 parliamentary elections. It is a political alliance made up of six-leading parties ranging from conservatism, liberalism and social democracy. Since October 2021, its prime ministerial candidate was Peter Marki-Zay.
During the campaign, United for Hungary focused on claims which have linked Viktor Orbán with corruption and promised to raise investment in education and healthcare.
Since the April 2006 general election, Fidesz has been in an electoral alliance with the Christian Democratic People’s Party (KDNP). A focus of Orbán’s campaign was to highlight his government’s work, and following the outbreak of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, sought to portray “himself domestically as a steady hand navigating between larger world powers”, in spite of his close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He visited Moscow on 1 February 2022.
While Orbán has accepted EU sanctions on Russia, he recently refused to allow lethal weapons transit through Hungarian territory to Ukraine.
A recent European Movement Ireland Just the Facts looks at the sanctions the EU has imposed on Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine.
2022 Election Results
In an election where the OSCE reported that it was “marred by the absence of a level playing field”, Orbán’s Fidesz Party retained their two-thirds super-majority in the National Assembly, taking 135 seats of the 199 available. This corresponds to 53.1% of the total vote, an increase of +3.8% since the April 2018 general election. In his post-election victory speech Orbán was quoted saying, “We have won a great victory”, noting that this would be seen from Brussels.
United for Hungary received 35% of votes, corresponding to 56 seats. Speaking on this result, opposition leader Peter Marki-Zay told supporters, “I will not hide my sadness and my disappointment,” and said that the coalition had done “everything humanly possible” in what he saw as an “unequal fight.”
They are followed by the far-right Our Home Movement, and the Hungarian Party of the Two-Tailed Dog, which won 6.1% and 3.2% of the vote respectively. Turnout was 68.69%, a slight decrease from 69.73% in the April 2018 general election. A full breakdown of the election results is outlined in the table below.
After winning a fourth successive term, it is believed this “victory could embolden Orbán” to continue his “erosion of democratic norms, media freedom and the rights of LGBTQ people” in Hungary. Further, it is reported that his super-majority will “likely to increase his confidence against the EU”, heightening concerns over Hungary’s relations with the EU institutions and other Member States.
|Coalition||Seats won in 2022||Seat change since 2018||Party||European Parliament Group|
|Fidesz – KDNP||135||117||1||Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Alliance||Non-Attached|
|18||1||KDNP – Christian Democratic People’s Party||European People’s Party|
|United for Hungary||56||9||-17||Jobbik – Movement for a Better Hungary||Non-Attached|
|8||-9||MSZP – Hungarian Socialist Party||Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats|
|7||4||Dialogue for Hungary||The Greens–European Free Alliance|
|18||9||DK – Democratic Coalition||Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats|
|5||-3||LMP – Hungary’s Green Party||The Greens–European Free Alliance|
|9||9||Momentum Movement||Renew Europe|
|Others||7||7||New||Our Homeland Movement||N/A|
|1||1||1||National Self-Government of Germans in Hungary||N/A|