On 30 March 2022, a recording was released in which László György Lukács, Vice-Chairman of Jobbik, presumably talks about the preparations for committing a crime. According to the Member of Parliament, “In the polling station that counts, or say in Karcag, where each polling station counts all these, a person who will kick up a riot for the whole time must be sent there.” What has been said suggests the plan of committing two possible crimes.
One of them is public nuisance, which, according to Article 339 (1) of the Criminal Code of 2012, is committed by a person who displays an apparently anti-social and violent conduct aiming to incite indignation or alarm in other people. It is an apparently anti-social, provocative, teasing and maverick conduct openly opposing the rules of social coexistence, with which the perpetrator expresses undisguised, unscrupulous and open disregard of the rules of social coexistence (BH2007. 283.), which can be described by the term “kicking up a riot” in common language. Violent behaviour is not the same as violence (BK Opinion, 71/2008, EBH2007. 1589.), it is an action of a less offensive nature, which may be directed against a person or thing (but cannot cause physical injury). The offence may be committed by touching the victim’s body, provided that the conduct is of an offensive nature (BH2018. 134.), such as pushing, dragging, punching, etc. (BK Opinion, 34/2007.), or if the person concerned is limited in his/her movement and harassed in an intrusive, obstructive manner by the perpetrator. So, if someone in a polling station “kicks up a riot” on the day of the elections to disturb the order and tranquillity of voting, or to dissuade others from casting their vote because they may instil fear in them while committing one of the listed acts, it is public nuisance, which is punishable by imprisonment not exceeding two years, in so far as the act did not result in a more serious criminal offence. Any person who commits public nuisance without violent conduct that is suitable for causing indignation or alarm to others, commits an infringement under Article 170 of Act II of 2012 on Minor Offences, Offence Procedures and the Registration System of Offence (hereinafter: the Offences Act). Article 339 (2) of the Criminal Code provides for aggravated criminal offence, namely that if public nuisance is committed in a gang, in a manner gravely disturbing public peace, by displaying a weapon, by carrying a weapon, or in a public event, the penalty for a felony shall be imprisonment not exceeding three years. Article 14 (1) of the Criminal Code states that an abettor is a person who intentionally persuades another person to commit a crime. If an MP, with the motivation to promote his or her own political goals, persuades someone to commit a public nuisance, he or she is liable as an abettor for the committed crime. In line with Article 29 (1) d) of the Offences Act, those defined in the General Part of the Criminal Code shall be applied to the concept of abettor regarding the infringements. According to Article 14 (3) of the Criminal Code, an abettor shall be subject to the penalty imposed on the perpetrators, i.e., anyone who incites another person to commit a riot commits an offence even in the less serious case, and in the most serious case, it is punishable by imprisonment not exceeding three years for an offence.
Another crime, the implementation plan of which can be deduced from the words of László György Lukács, is a crime against the order of elections, referendum and the European citizens’ initiative, which, according to Article 350 (1) of the Criminal Code, is committed by a person who obstructs any voter in participating in the election, referendum, popular initiative or European citizens’ initiative, governed by Act on Electoral Procedure or Act on Popular Initiative, European Citizens’ Initiative and the Procedure for Referendum, by force, threat of force or deception, or makes any attempt to influence such person by offering financial benefits. The protected legal interest of the crime is the social interest in the smooth and lawful exercise of the right to political participation based on popular sovereignty and in the reliability of the results of the public will of the electorate. The essential element of the facts is the time of the offence specified by law, the passive subject is the holder of the right to vote, whose will the perpetrator wants to influence by his or her conduct, and the conduct includes hindering the right to vote. As the law does not provide for “prevention”, the conduct is factual even if the voter is able to exercise his or her right to vote despite the impediment. If somebody “kicks up a riot” in any of the polling stations on 3 April and, as a result, obstructs another person in participating in voting or referendum, or seeks to influence by force, threat, deception, or financial benefit, he or she shall be sentenced to up to three years in prison for a crime. If the perpetrator is instigated by an MP, the politician must face the same penalty. Influencing the election results in this way violates Article 2 (1) a)-b) of Act XXXVI of 2013 on Electoral Procedure, according to which the following principles must be enforced during the application of the rules of electoral procedure: the protection of the fairness of the election; voluntary participation in the election procedure. In the case of the opposition, there is a strong suspicion that they will obstruct those wishing to take part in the child protection referendum, or they will have them obstruct by others, since the validity terms of the plebisticum laid down in Article 8 (4) of the Fundamental Law is that more than half of those entitled to vote shall give (valid) answers to the questions asked. For months, however, the left and the NGOs linked to them have been urging the public not to vote in the referendum, in a morally unacceptable way, or if they do so, they should do it in an invalid way, thus depriving themselves of the right to have a direct say in shaping public affairs and denouncing the possibility, existing since the change of regime, to oblige the Parliament to legislate with unquestionable legitimacy.
Suspicion of electoral fraud and attempts thereof, as well as crimes committed to maximise votes, already accompanied the left’s campaign in the past, starting with the openly manipulated ‘blue-card’ election of 1947, which established the Communist Party’s power for more than four decades, for the retainment of which the Hungarian Bolsheviks needed the Soviet tanks, in addition to the electoral fraud. As a principle requirement, preserving the fairness of elections has not always been met by the left. In March 2006, Hír TV Célpont program published a recording about a possible electoral fraud committed by members of MSZP in a chain voting in Nagykáta in 2002. After the left led by Péter Medgyessy had won the election by a minimal majority, they refused to recount the votes in order to dispel doubts and tried to destroy the ballot papers as soon as possible, despite the fact that Fidesz and Fidelitas had initiated a popular initiative and an amendment to the law to preserve and recount ballot papers. As for the chain voting scandal in 2002, empty envelopes were found in a total of eighty percent of the polling stations, about 9,000 polling stations, with an estimated 180,000 illegally cast votes. Twenty years ago, there were also concerns about the legitimacy of the operation of the Electoral Commission of Hungary (OVB), the legal predecessor of the National Electoral Commission. The body decided that on election day it is forbidden to publish OVB information based on the register of voters who have already gone to the polls and who have not. However, MSZP received such information, and in the first round, the Socialists encouraged their partisans who had been absent from voting, by telephone and intercom. In the same year, there was a case that was by no means ethical and raised suspicions of electoral fraud, when dairy products were distributed on behalf of László Kapolyi, the candidate supported by the socialists in Fehérgyarmat, in several educational institutions belonging to the constituency. In 2006, the left committed fraud with the supporting statements. Prior to the second round of the elections, almost the same leaflets as the ballots were distributed nationwide. The OVB did not find it 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 OVB 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 list of suspicious cases in 2006 also included the case when in the spring a crew in Szolnok recorded a video with a switched-on computer, which showed a register of names of those who had given their supporting statements to the candidate of MSZP, which was contrary to the data recording provisions of the Electoral Act of 1989 effective at that time, and a suspicion of a breach of law arose. In 2006, the left, albeit with a minimal difference, won the election, but – as Ferenc Gyurcsány put it in his monologue known as the “speech in Őszöd”, which he made to his party colleagues – it needed “an abundance of money in the world economy and hundreds of tricks”. Prior to the by-election in Ferencváros in 2009, in December 2008, the campaign manager of SZDSZ spoke about the falsification of supporting statements in a released recording, and a year later the police ordered an investigation into the mayoral election in Józsefváros on suspicion of a crime against the order of elections. In the latter case, a lady claimed that on behalf of MSZP, three people had offered one thousand forints to each homeless person queuing for food, provided they agreed to photocopy their ID cards. One homeless said that the aim was to prevent Fidesz from winning the 2009 local elections. In the 2010 elections, Tibor Szanyi, then member of MSZP, encouraged to organize reregistration, which was also recorded. At the end of 2013, in connection with the by-election in Baja, HVG published a manipulated recording entitled “Here is the proof of fraud: they voted for money and firewood in Baja”, with which the left tried to highlight Fidesz in a negative way. Three days after the video had been released, police said the recording was fake, with the characters playing a staged situation. Similarly, with a pre-staged video, Lajos Korózs tried to mislead the country and spread fake news during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. In the autumn of 2021, the left-wing primary was held, which has no precedent in Hungarian legal history, an action that is completely irrelevant in terms of public law, it could be rather interpreted as an action of data collection. Although the leaders of the united left parties adopted a “code of ethics for primary” on 14 April 2021, declaring that fundamental freedoms, the rule of law, and democracy were respected in all circumstances, still there were several cases that are difficult to reconcile with the fundamental criteria of the rule of law, such as fair and free elections. Several scandals erupted around the opposition politicians who do not follow their own rules, which, if proven in court, would have criminal consequences if it were a legally regulated election. An MP for MSZP from Miskolc offered to fetch those who support their candidate in the primary and take them to the polls. On the one hand, the politician’s “transport offer” greatly underestimates the legal and democratic seriousness of the selection process. On the other hand, if it was a parliamentary election, it would violate the Act on Electoral Procedure, and he would commit a crime. Of the principles listed in Article 2 (1) of the Act on Electoral Procedure, the protection of the fairness of the election, voluntary participation in the election procedure, and exercising of rights in good faith in accordance with their purpose would be violated in this case. According to Article 350 (1) e) and i) of the Criminal Code, any person who, in the course of elections, makes any attempt to influence any voter by offering financial benefits, or demands financial benefits for his or her vote, and receives financial benefits therefor, commits a crime and shall be punishable by imprisonment not exceeding three years. So, both the MP and the person accepting the consideration offered would commit a crime. According to the accusations at that time, MSZP and DK politicians promised money and a gift voucher in exchange for the votes in many parts of the country, including Ózd and Pestszentlőrinc, during the primary. György László Lukács, who spoke in the recording that was leaked on 30 March 2022, wrote a letter to Matteo Mecacci, Director of the OSCE ODIHR, in which he expressed his opinion that “I consider the legalisation of voting tourism by Fidesz, led by Viktor Orbán, to be an undermining of democratic values. In doing so, the current governing party will be able to influence the outcome of the parliamentary elections with fictional addresses, having voters travel and transporting them.” Contrary to what the politician from Jobbik said, the truth is that Fidesz did not legalise “voting tourism”. In fact, it was Péter Márki-Zay, candidate for the left-wing prime minister, who in London encouraged Hungarians living abroad to commit electoral fraud (voting tourism). The contradiction characteristic of the left is that they are seemingly worried about democracy and are trying to discredit their country abroad with fabricated charges of the rule of law, while in fact they are asking voters to register in “swing” constituencies and are planning “to kick up a riot”.