Open letter to the Head of the Elections Observation Mission delegated to Hungary by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights

Open letter to the Head of the Elections Observation Mission delegated to Hungary by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights


Her Excellency Jillian Stirk

Dear Madame Ambassador,

On 21 March 2022, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) published its interim report. The report, relying on the arguments of the Hungarian left, makes unfounded allegations against our electoral system. Based on all this, it can be assumed that the OSCE’s final report prepared after the elections will reveal a biased and politically motivated, pre-written “verdict” that we are not willing to accept as real. Thus, the ODIHR’s biased findings and unfounded allegations do not serve the observation, the official goal of the mission, but it is an interference in the democratic elections. The interim report was also heavily criticised in the report of the election observation team that visited Hungary and was organized by the independent legal organisation Ordo Iuris in Poland and the Collegium Intermarium University in Warsaw. According to them, the OSCE violated five of the principles of such missions, namely: impartiality and non-interference, drawing accurate and verifiable conclusions, respect for national law and culture, neutrality and professionalism in media appearances, formulating proposals and conclusions based on transparent sources.

The interim report was preceded by a report from the OSCE Needs Assessment Mission on 4 February 2022, for which the members of the delegation met with several representatives of the judiciary, politics, civil society, and the media. The document cites a number of positive examples of Hungary and the parliamentary elections. Criticisms of the general deterioration in the circumstances of democratic elections, the possibility of the abuse of public resources, the simultaneous holding of an election and a referendum, which is a concern, and the situation of media freedom and the independence of the judiciary, come from opposition politicians and left-wing media and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The bill allowing the election and the referendum to be held at the same time was submitted by Tímea Szabó, Member of Parliament for Párbeszéd, on 6 September 2021, and on 8 November 2021, all the members present (183) voted in favour of the amendment. Criticism of this means that an idea that comes from an opposition MP and on which there is a consensus in the National Assembly is considered to “be of concern” regarding voting.

Although it is a recurring element in the narrative of left-wing politicians and in international reports criticising Hungary that the situation of the freedom of the press in Hungary is described as critical by creating a false picture of the Hungarian condition of the media, the reality is that no one suppresses the opposition media. On the contrary, the hegemony of anti-government voices prevails in the online media. Article IX (1)-(2) of the Hungarian Fundamental Law (hereinafter: Fundamental Law) declares that everyone has the right to freedom of expression and that Hungary recognizes and protects the freedom and diversity of the press and ensures the conditions for the free dissemination of information necessary for the formation of democratic public opinion. In Hungary, freedom of the press and the fundamental rules of media content are regulated by a separate law (hereinafter referred to as Press Act). Under Article 4 (2) of the Press Act, the freedom of the press also includes independence from the State and from any organisation or interest group. In the last decade, a democratic change has also taken place in the freedom of the press in Hungary: before 2010, the media was clearly determined by leftist voices, while today the press is much freer in Hungary and the media is much more pluralistic than in Western European states.

The questioning of the independence of the judiciary is not unfamiliar to the rhetoric of the left either, but we ask Her Excellency to take legislation and practice as a basis for your observations. Article XXVIII (1) of the Fundamental Law states that the courts shall be independent and impartial, and Article 26 (1) declares that judges shall be independent and only subordinated to Acts; they shall not be instructed in relation to their judicial activities; judges may only be removed from office for the reasons and in a procedure specified in a cardinal Act, thus, their existence cannot be jeopardised by a government decision. The custodians of iurisdictio may not be members of political parties or engage in political activities, as a result of which politics may not influence their judgments. As stated in Article 28 of the Fundamental Law, judges do their job in accordance with common sense and the public good, as required by law. The Preamble of Act CLXI of 2011 on the Organisation and Administration of the Courts (Act on Courts.) also provides for judicial independence, and Article 3 states that judges and lay judges are independent, they shall make their decisions in accordance with the law based on their own personal judgment, and they may not be influenced or instructed in relation to their judgment. Pursuant to Article 1 (1) of Act CLXII of 2011 on the Legal Status and Remuneration of Judges (Act on Judges), judges shall be independent in their judicial activities. Article 39 of the Act on Judges stipulates that the judges may not be members of political parties or engage in political activities.

Between 17 and 24 January 2022, the Needs Assessment Mission met with thirteen Hungarian politicians, of whom only three were members of one of the governing parties, while ten public figures were selected from the opposition. The popular representative body of Hungary is the National Assembly with 199 members, two-thirds of which are members of Fidesz-KDNP, nevertheless, less than a quarter of those interviewed were pro-government. Given the principle of popular sovereignty, since people are represented by representatives in the parliament, it is difficult to explain why the OSCE interviewed as many Fidesz politicians as Momentum politicians, who are not even present in the parliament.

The Mission met with nine NGOs, seven of which consistently represent anti-government positions and the ideology of open societies. Each of the seven NGOs receives direct or indirect support from the Open Society Foundations (OSF), which is linked to George Soros, and therefore consistently conveys and share the highly critical views of the billionaire stock market speculator against Hungary. OSF support and the relationship between Soros and NGOs:

In addition to the three senior media officials of the Hungarian media, the Needs Assessment Mission met with employees of RTL, HVG, and Népszava. The common feature of the four media outlets is that they mainly allow space for voices criticising the conservative, civilian government, and that they represent the left-liberal position in various programs and columns.

The OSCE mission therefore arrived in Hungary with preconceptions based in part on false information received from those linked to the left and adopted the position expressed in its interim report based thereon. If the allegations made in the final report are also based on anti-government statements, it will not meet the objective criterion of reality. We ask Her Excellency to diversify with whom you are discussing the situation of the Hungarian rule of law, the essential part of which is fair and free elections, as you can only get a real picture of the situation in Hungary if you know the position of both sides!

Even before the publication of this year’s OSCE reports, Századvég pointed out that the international left-wing network was attacking the Hungarian election process on political grounds. The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), an international think tank that conducts European foreign and security policy research, has made its prediction in a totally absurd way that “Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will lose the election but declare himself victorious […] and remain in power.” The founder of the ECFR is Mark Leonard, who is a regular author of the left-liberal international media organisation, the Project Syndicate, on the surface of which George Soros repeatedly attacks Hungary. Between 2016 and 2020, the organisation received USD 11,683,720 (approximately HUF 3.976 billion) from the OSF. It should be seen as one of the culminations of the international delegitimization efforts when Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield, the head of the LIBE delegation that visited Hungary at the end of September 2021, unjustifiably predestining the legitimacy of the 2022 election, said that the rule of law in Hungary or as she presumed, the lack thereof, “prevents real and fair elections”. Over the past year, the election fraud in April has been treated as an axiom by both the Hungarian opposition and the foreign liberal press, most recently by an NGO called Action for Democracy, led by Dávid Korányi, a city diplomatic adviser to Mayor Gergely Karácsony, that has made an ad on a giant screen in Times Square, New York, claiming that democracy in Hungary was “under attack” and encouraging everyone to vote. All this in the United States. Kim Lane Scheppele, an expert on Hungary at Princeton University, put the following question in a report on the 2018 elections: “Can Europe have trust in a fair election in Hungary when there is no doubt that the Hungarian government is unable to hold free and fair elections?” Scheppele’s opinion is shared by Gábor Tóka, an election expert at CEU, who said: “The research questions the ability of Hungarian official bodies to hold fair and transparent elections. As the EP elections approach, international observers need to keep a close eye on what is happening in Hungary.” Vera Jourova, Vice-President of the European Commission, also pointed out that we cannot expect fair elections in Hungary, saying the following in Euronews in November 2021: “There are several conditions for free and fair elections in the Member States. One of these is freedom of expression and the existence of a free and diverse press. Of course, this is questionable in the case of Hungary, as we know that we have a lot of concerns about the situation of the Hungarian press.” László György Lukács, a Member of Parliament for Jobbik (who is also a member of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly), wrote a letter to Matteo Mecacci, Director of the OSCE ODIHR, last November, expressing his opinion as follows: “… I see voting tourism that Fidesz, led by Viktor Orbán, legalised by a law amendment as an undermining of democratic values. In this way, the current governing party can greatly influence the results of the parliamentary elections by fictitious addresses, by having voters travel and by transporting them.” There are several problems with what Lukács has said: On the one hand, Fidesz did not legalise “voting tourism”, and on the other hand, it was his candidate for prime minister, Péter Márki-Zay, who in London encouraged Hungarians living abroad to commit electoral fraud (voting tourism). It is also a similar, completely unfounded and fabricated left-wing accusation that the government would lead Hungary out of the European Union, and this is “at stake in the election”. However, the truth is that the possibility of “Huxit” has never been raised by any Fidesz politician, and it is also part of the international globalist network’s smear campaign against the Hungarian government. In order to allegedly prevent fraud, Unhack Democracy calls on the population to be tellers to prevent fraud and urges international intervention, despite the fact that a resolution adopted by the European Parliament on 10 October 2019 declared external interference in the elections to be in breach of international law. Given the international legal and moral standards, we ask you that the OSCE refrain from engaging in the left’s international campaign, which aims to unfoundedly question the validity of the Hungarian elections.

During the activities of the OSCE and the selection of the missions’ quality we uncovered a politically motivated double standard. In the autumn of 2021, the organisation sent only the most superficial observation team to the German and Czech elections, as in January this year to the Portuguese elections, which usually ends in a left-wing victory. At the time of the elections, Portugal had a left-liberal government, the Czech Republic a liberal-centrist government, Germany was ruled by the CDU-CSU, which departed from Christian-conservative values, and the Social Democratic Party, and the victory of the left in the federal elections could be predicted. However, the OSCE report on Hungary after the 2018 elections stated that

  • Voters had a wide range of political choices,
  • The technical implementation of the elections was professional and transparent,
  • Fundamental rights and freedoms were respected,
  • The recently amended legal framework for elections provided an adequate basis for holding democratic elections,
  • The functioning of the electoral bodies was judged to be impartial, which effectively fulfilled their mandate and enjoyed trust among those concerned at all levels,
  • The practice of appointing electoral bodies provided an adequate basis for independence and impartiality at all levels,
  • There was general confidence in the accuracy and completeness of the electoral roll,
  • The media coverage of the campaign was wide-ranging but highly polarised,
  • Online media gave way to multifaceted, problem-oriented policy debates,
  • The right to redress for electoral offences extended to everyone and was generally respected,
  • Voting procedures in the polling stations visited by the mission were generally carried out efficiently and in accordance with the law,
  • The legislation allowed for measures to promote the participation of nationalities in the electoral process and provided opportunities for international observers to monitor the whole electoral process.

Despite all this, the largest full-scale election observation mission would be sent to Hungary, which has only been recommended in the case of Bulgaria so far.

In March 2006, Hír TV published a recording that the Socialists might have previously committed electoral fraud in a chain voting in 2002. MSZP might also have prepared for the 2006 elections with such fraud. As for the chain voting scandal in 2002, empty envelopes were found in a total of eighty percent of the constituencies, about 9,000 constituencies, with an estimated 180,000 illegally cast votes. Despite all these worrisome antecedents, the unfair campaign by the left-wing government parties in 2006, and several serious electoral abuses, the OSCE did not delegate election observers to Hungary for the parliamentary elections in April 2006, on the grounds that no irregularities or shortcomings were found in connection with the elections before Hungary’s accession to the EU, so there is no need for observers. However, this is not the case. The OSCE already expressed its concerns in its 2002 Preliminary Statement on (among other things) the viability of regional and minority parties, the early setting up of the NEO, and the decisions taken before the appointment of the party delegates. According to an OSCE final report in 2002, the requirement for the submission of supporting statements in support of candidates might cause abuse and criticised the legislation on campaign finance and the effectiveness of the appeal procedure. A few weeks before the 2006 election, Udur Gunnarsdottir, a spokeswoman for the organisation, said she would almost certainly not send observers to the Hungarian parliamentary elections, citing the shortness of time and other responsibilities of the organisation. The spokeswoman noted that the OSCE is “not an election police”, so their presence is no guarantee that “the elections will go on well” and everything would happen in accordance with the law. Concerns over the 2006 elections were confirmed, the left had committed fraud with the supporting statements. Prior to the second round of the elections, almost the same leaflets as the ballots were distributed nationwide, an activity which the NEO did not find suitable for deception in the procedure initiated by Fidesz, and even considered the leaflets to be campaign materials that had met all the legal requirements. Subsequent inquiries by the Supreme Court found that, in an unprecedented manner since 1990, the body had made wrong decisions on 14 occasions in connection with the 2006 elections, of which 6 were to the detriment of Fidesz and 6 in favour of MSZP and SZDSZ.

The OSCE did not send observers under the MSZP-SZDSZ government even when the experience of the previous elections justified it, but now that Hungary has a national, civilian government, a mission carrying out the closest observation is coming to our country, despite the positive report of 2018. Based on Hungarian and international empirical evidence, there is a reason to think that the OSCE applies a double standard to its member states. The publication of the interim report might have aimed at undermining confidence in democratic elections and paving the way for the opposition narrative, so that if they lose the elections, electoral fraud has taken place and the conditions for free and fair election have not been provided. Despite the active involvement of the international network, NGOs and the liberal press, polls show that the left expects a poor result in the election on 3 April and is trying to explain their potential defeat with documents like these.

With all due respect, we ask Her Excellency that the OSCE focus exclusively on observation during the mission and not engage in political activities, thus interfering in fair, free and democratic elections in Hungary!


Subscribe to our newsletter!

Successful subscription!

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Cookie settings