Under the fundamental freedom of association, which everybody is entitled to, everyone has the right to form and join organisations freely with other persons.
While under Act CLXXV of 2011 on the Freedom of Association, Non-profit Status and the Operation and Support of Civil Organizations (hereinafter: Civil Act) an association is a non-governmental organization established on the basis of freedom of association, which contributes to the preservation of our common values through its activities, parties contribute to the formation and manifestation of the will of the people, according to Article VIII. (3) of the Fundamental Law.
By denominating the parties separately in Article VIII. (3) of the Fundamental Law, they are excluded from the form of associations and the formation of an organization for such a purpose is placed under separate protection by the Fundamental Law. This separation is reinforced by the Civil Act, which, in classifying non-governmental organizations, explicitly states that while an association qualifies as a non-governmental organization, a party does not.
The fundamental differences between associations and parties that result from the overriding social purpose related to parties have also been confirmed on several occasions by the Constitutional Court.
The Constitutional Court Ruling No. 3001/2019. (I.7.) specifies that parties have a special relationship with official authority compared to other social organizations, as they contribute to the formation and manifestation of the will of the people.
In the Constitutional Court Ruling No. 1/2014. (I.21.), regarding the right to collect signatures, the judicial body specified that of the organizations, parties in particular may be subject to the right of political participation, and all this can be attributed to Article VIII. (3) of the Fundamental Law.
Unlike associations, the essence of the special relation to official authority is that parties have an explicit goal and task to participate in the exercise of official authority through their representatives and to continuously influence the activities of official authority by policy instruments. This justifies that parties, compared to other organizations formed under the right of association, are subject to different and stricter legal requirements in certain areas.
Pursuant to Article 4 (3) of Act XXXIII of 1989 on the Operation and Financial Management of Political Parties (hereinafter: Party Law), parties may not accept anonymous donations or contribution of assets from a foreign organisation or a natural person who is not a Hungarian citizen. Only an association that declares before the court of registration that it expresses its consent to be bound by the provisions of the Party Law, including the prohibition of foreign donations, simultaneously with its application for registration, can operate as a party.
The prohibition on accepting contribution of assets from a foreign organisation or a natural person who is not a Hungarian citizen is justified by the fact that the parties’ election chances are greatly influenced by their asset opportunities: Therefore, the Party Law and Act LXXXVII of 2013 on the Transparency of Campaign Costs Related to the Election of the Members of the National Assembly lay down rules to ensure a fair and level playing field for the parties’ financial resources. All this, among other things, serves the purpose of preventing foreign financial circles from influencing domestic elections in return for their financial contributions and, in the event of an election victory favourable to them, from the possibility to shape Hungarian politics and public life in accordance with foreign interests.
Ignoring the clear and unequivocal national interest in banning foreign donations, Péter Márki-Zay urges the support for his election campaign through his association, Mindenki Magyarországa Mozgalom, on his official website, indicating that it can also be done through the interface of The Action Network, an international progressive organization.
The declared goal of The Action Network is to build online power of progressive movements, for the implementation of which the group engages in network-like activities: it provides an interface for activist recruitment, mobilisation, and donation, among other things. In addition to Egységben Magyarországért, far-left anarchist organizations, such as the Black Lives Matter or the Antifa movement, are also among the partners of the foreign organization.
Mindenki Magyarországa Mozgalom can circumvent the legal requirements for parties regarding the ban on accepting foreign donations by using the form of association, thus financing the election campaign of Péter Márki-Zay and the left from foreign sources. This is extremely worrisome because, as a result, it may jeopardise the purity of political life and provide opportunities for foreign interests to intervene in Hungarian domestic political processes.