This Sunday, on April 3, Hungarians will choose who will represent them in parliament. The ruling Fidesz party of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is seeking a fourth consecutive term in office. For the first time in 12 years in power, it faces a formidable challenge: a united opposition coalition of six parties led by Péter Márki-Zay. Given the erosion of democratic standards, the rule of law, and the media environment in the country – as well as growing concerns about the integrity of these elections – the OSCE decided to send a full election observation mission (EOM) to Hungary. It is only the second time that such a comprehensive mission is being deployed in an EU member state.
The election campaign has been significantly influenced by the ongoing war in neighboring Ukraine and the government’s close relationship with Russia. Although there has been international criticism of Orbán’s government, domestic public discourse has been dominated by his message of stability and constrained by a media landscape that is heavily controlled by his ruling party.
In this public debate, we will discuss the results of these elections and the EOM’s preliminary findings. We will address the implications for Hungary’s political direction as well as those for its foreign policy and the EU. Whatever the outcome, Germany will need to prepare a solid and timely response that is well-coordinated with other EU partners.
Dr. Péter Krekó, Executive Director, Political Capital, Budapest
Nicola Schmidt, Director of Programs, Democracy Reporting International, Berlin
Roland Freudenstein, Vice President, and Head of GLOBSEC Brussels
Robin Wagener, MP, Spokesperson for EU Affairs of the Green Party Parliamentary Group in the Bundestag; Head of the German Delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and Member of EOM to Hungary
Milan Nič, Senior Fellow, Alfred von Oppenheim Center for European Policy Studies, DGAP
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