Blogsite of the Institute for Legal Studies
2022. October 27. 13:25
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, all four countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) of the so-called Visegrád Group (also known as Visegrád Four or simply V4) have held their elections. In the following, I shall shortly introduce the postponed Polish presidential elections and the Czech and Hungarian parliamentary elections in the spirit of neutrality of public authorities in the election campaign. Moreover, the Slovakian parliamentary elections held shortly before the rising of the global pandemic will be also mentioned.
2022. October 13. 9:52
Covid-19’s effect on individuals’ fundamental rights cannot simply be overstated. This also concerns one of the most influential rights a citizen has and that is the right to vote. At the beginning of the pandemic, it was unclear to us as to how the incumbent crisis managing governments will undertake the task of organizing elections (thus potentially getting re-elected), as limiting the epidemiological risk was at the forefront of all governmental agendas around the world. It sure was a dilemma as nationwide one-day elections are substantial social events, and personal contact can hardly be eliminated, this results in the virus spreading faster than prior the elections, but on the other hand political power under the law is neither unlimited in time nor in substance, therefore democratic societies hold elections at predetermined intervals prescribed by law. Hungarian lawyer, political scientist and former president of the Constitutional Court Mihály Bihari holds that: "The people have sovereignty because the source of all state power is the electorate."(pp 2.) This obligation to hold elections resulted in occasions in which the external circumstances either did not allow for the vote to go ahead, thus it had to be postponed, or held amid the pandemic. International Idea Institute provides a wide range of statistics about Covid-19 and election postponement, their work serves as a cornerstone for this blogpost.
2022. October 12. 7:53
On 23 June 2022, as part of the research project IVF 22120065. funded by the International Visegrad Fund, aiming to analyse the impact of the global pandemic on the V4 countries’ electoral framework, a policy roundtable was held in a hybrid format to discuss the Hungarian experience on this matter. Four speakers were invited to the roundtable: Dániel Döbrentey, the Project Leader of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union; János Mécs, Project Leader of the Association of European Election Officers; Attila Nagy, the president of the Hungarian National Electoral Office; and Emese Szilágyi, the Electoral Observer of the OSCE ODIHR Election Observation Mission to Hungary 2022. The panellists raised a number of paramount issues concerning the latest electoral development in Hungary and its link with the public health concerns, and this was followed by the comments of the audience, which included also the questions of the colleagues joining online from the Jagiellonian University of Cracow. The organisers aimed to foster an interdisciplinary legal discourse amongst the representatives of various interested actors; this was the leading consideration when the invited speakers were selected from the National Electoral Office, from a Hungarian NGO, from an international electoral network and from an international electoral observer mission. The roundtable was moderated by Boldizsár Szentgáli-Tóth, the senior research fellow of the Centre for Social Sciences, Institute for Legal Studies.