Dr Zoltán Fleck, Head of Center for Theory of Law and Society at ELTE Faculty of Law and of the staff of public law of Péter Márki-Zay, candidate for prime minister of the left united for the 2022 parliamentary elections, published a publication on 6 April 2022 entitled Why They Win on the German website Verfassungsblog.de, which contains entries in English and German. In his writing, he agrees with the New York-based Professor András Arató’s argument that “there are sound institutional reasons for Orbán’s recent overwhelming victory,” citing electoral distortions, a disproportionate system, and the lack of media pluralism as examples. Although the author does not say what he really means by electoral distortions, the Statement of Preliminary Findings and Conclusions published by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) International Election Observation Mission on 4 April 2022, gave a positive assessment of all stages of the process in the vast majority of the polling stations observed during the elections held one day earlier, on 3 April. The report states that the conduct of the elections and referendum was professional and well-organized, and that the legal environment created the opportunity for democratic elections. According to the experience of the OSCE mission, the electoral bodies performed their duties professionally, efficiently, and in accordance with normative standards. The accusation of a “disproportionate system” lacks credibility, as the Hungarian electoral system is mixed, with 106 out of 199 seats being allocated in an individual (majority) and 93 in a proportional (list) system, and there is a compensation list for “disproportions”. A similar electoral system is used, among others, in Andorra, Greece, Lithuania, Germany, Italy, Scotland, and Wales. The Hungarian Electoral Act is usually criticised on the left for favouring the governing parties. This is not true either, because if, for example, the voting on 3 April had been conducted according to the English electoral system, where only individual seats can be won to get into the Parliament, the Fidesz-KDNP party alliance would have a majority of more than 80 percent in the upcoming Parliament. The lack of pluralism is by no means a real problem in Hungarian media relations, the hegemony of left-wing voices has been gradually replaced by a diversity of opinions since 2010. Today, the press is much freer in Hungary and the media is much more pluralistic than in Western European countries. Article IX (2) of the Fundamental Law states that Hungary shall recognise and protect the freedom and diversity of the press and shall ensure the conditions for the free dissemination of information necessary for the formation of democratic public opinion. Article 4 (1) of Act CIV of 2010 on the Freedom of the Press and the Fundamental Rules of Media Content includes the same declaration, and according to Section 2, the freedom of the press also includes independence from the state and from any organization or interest group.
According to Fleck, “the features of our autocratic regime are more like Putin’s system than any Western democracy”. The unfounded accusations against Hungarian democracy can be refuted by reference to the provisions of our legal sources and empirically. The National Avowal of the Fundamental Law also emphasises the importance of national sovereignty and the commitment of our nation to freedom and democracy. Pursuant to Article B) (1) and (3) of the Fundamental Law, Hungary is an independent, democratic state governed by the rule of law, where the source of public power is the people. Article 2 (3) and (1) of our national constitution states that parliamentary elections shall be held every four years and that members of the National Assembly shall be elected by universal and equal suffrage in a direct and secret ballot, in elections which guarantee the free expression of the will of the voters. The fairness of the elections is not disputed by the cited OSCE Statement either, and what Viktor Orbán said at his international press conference on 6 April 2022 is a firm stance in favour of a multi-party system, democratic public debate, and the rule of law: “Hungary needs a parliament in which there is a voice other than the government, where there are other approaches as well. In politics, I’ve learnt that competition is a good thing; it is not convenient, not pleasant, sometimes outright nasty, but actually competition is important. Without competition there is no performance, everybody is forced to perform in competitions, so I think that it would be in the interest of all of us to have smart, meaningful debates on high-quality, serious issues in Hungarian politics in the future. The opposition is also needed for this, and I wish them good luck!” No matter how hard the Hungarian and foreign members of the global network of the left are trying to convince the international community that there is no democracy in Hungary, the truth is that Hungary’s constitutional system has all the features of the rule of law that Western countries have. Hungary has a multi-party system, and in addition to the provisions of Article B) of the Fundamental Law, it is important to mention Article C) (1), which declares that the Hungarian state is based on the principle of the separation of powers. The Chapter on Freedom and Responsibility in our national constitution is about fundamental rights, the recognition, respect, and protection of which are guaranteed by Article I (1) and (2). Hungary is clearly part of the “West” in the alliance system as well, as it is a member of NATO and the European Union. Unlike Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom (although the latter is not a member of the EU but is clearly considered a Western democracy), Hungary has a separate constitutional court, which is the principal organ for the protection of the Fundamental Law under Article 24 (1) of the Fundamental Law and the member of which is independent and is subordinated only to the Fundamental Law and the laws according to Act CLI of 2011 on the Constitutional Court. Following this year’s parliamentary elections, nine parties gained seats in the parliament, and the German National Self-Government in Hungary. In contrast, politicians from five parties have seats in the National Council in Austria, seven parties gained seats in the House of Representatives in Latvia and the Czech Republic, and only six parties have seats in the Slovak and Polish parliaments (and, regarding the latter, the Mniejszość Niemiecka – German Minority). In the history of Hungarian democracy, Viktor Orbán has received an unprecedented mandate, with the support of nearly 55 percent as the candidate for prime minister of Fidesz and KDNP. Social support behind the leaders of many European countries, regarding the votes received by their parties compared to other parties, is a fraction of what the Hungarian head of government has. The Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats, the party of the Belgian Prime Minister Alexander Croo, won 8.5 percent of the votes in 2019. Chancellor Olaf Scholz with the German Social Democratic Party won 25.7 percent of the votes in the 2021 German federal elections. The Finnish Social Democratic Party was supported by 17.7 percent of voters in 2019, making Sanna Marin the head of government in Finland. The Free Democratic People’s Party, the party of the Dutch Prime Minister Viktor Rutte, one of the main Western critics of Hungary and Viktor Orbán, achieved 21.9 percent in last year’s elections.
According to the head of the staff of public law of Péter Márki-Zay, joint candidate for prime minister of the left, “voters should have been deceived in order for the opposition to win”, because “the autocratic legalism embodied by the Orbán regime” cannot be defeated in elections, only “by its own means”. At this point, Zoltán Fleck is not even seemingly trying to show democratic commitment, and at the same time he admits that the opposition, despite the legal possibility, is unable to win elections in accordance with the rule of law. Fleck would return to the policy of Ferenc Gyurcsány, with whom he is in good terms, who won a minimum majority in 2006 so that, as he put it in his monologue that became infamous as the “speech in Őszöd”, it needed “an abundance of money in the world economy and hundreds of tricks”, and that they were lying “morning, night and evening”. The deception of the electorate, despite the fact that it is morally unjustifiable, and the power gained this way is illegitimate, is not politically rewarding: After the speech in Őszöd had appeared in the press in the autumn of 2006, a series of demonstrations began throughout the country, the bloody repression of which and the mismanagement of the economic crisis that followed caused the fall of Ferenc Gyurcsány in 2009 and that of MSZP in 2010. The leader of Demokratikus Koalíció (DK) is still the most rejected politician in the country, and MSZP won only 9 of the 199 seats in the election on 3 April. A recurring element of left-wing rhetoric is that elections in Hungary are fraudulent. In contrast, the situation outlined, namely that the left would come to power through deliberately spreading lies, is the one that would mean the violation of the fairness and the democratic nature of the election. Politicians obtaining a mandate in this way would not have the legitimate authority to legislate or decide on the fate of the country in a government.
In the last paragraph of the blog post, Fleck scolds society, claiming the falsehood that in Hungary “… they hardly value freedom and almost do not value the limitation of power at all. At least let’s be honest with ourselves: such election victories can hardly be explained otherwise.” Throughout history, our nation has had to endure many occupations and repressive regimes, from the Turkish occupation and Habsburg repression to the communist regime. Therefore, Hungarians’ desire for freedom is much greater than that of those nations that have never experienced oppression. According to our National Avowal, our freedom today is rooted in the 1956 Revolution. So, the love of freedom is also enshrined in our Fundamental Law. The institutionalised means of limiting power is the Constitutional Court and the separation of powers, the principle of which the functioning of the Hungarian state is based on. Article C) (2) of the Fundamental Law states that no one shall act with the aim of acquiring or exercising power by force, and of exclusively possessing it. Article 15 stipulates that the government shall be accountable to the National Assembly, so the executive power cannot do anything without control. The victory of Fidesz-KDNP can be explained, if there is a need for explanation, by the fact that the citizens voted in favour of the promises, principles, goals, and measures of the governing parties and their achievements over the past twelve years in free and democratic elections.
Winning the elections by deceiving the people is not the first anti-democratic idea of Zoltán Fleck. He told Hírklikk in 2020 that “We will most likely have to temporarily abandon the clear prevalence of the rule of law after an opposition victory in 2022.” In addition to being incomprehensible in a democratic context, his statement may violate two normative provisions. One of them is Article B) (1) of the Fundamental Law, according to which Hungary is an independent, democratic state governed by the rule of law, and the other is Article 254 of Act C of 2012 on the Criminal Code (Criminal Code), which states that the crime of overturning the constitutional order by force or even the preparation therefor is punishable by imprisonment. In addition, the suspension of the rule of law is an indirect acknowledgment of the fact that Hungary does not currently have the rule of law deficit constantly spread by the left, or in other words: we live in a democracy. Fleck shares the view that the Fundamental Law can be amended by a simple majority, despite the fact that Article S) (2) of the Fundamental Law clearly states that for the adoption of a fundamental law or for the amendment of the Fundamental Law the vote of two thirds of the Members of the National Assembly is required. He argued by saying that “the following sentence is humbug: the Fundamental Law is a constitution”. Given that the Fundamental Law has not only replaced Act XX of 1949 on the Constitution of the Republic of Hungary but has also been drafted in accordance with the formal requirements included therein. The person who denies the constitutional nature of the Fundamental Law questions our entire constitutional continuity. The precondition for constitutionality is the rule of law and legislation within the constitutional framework. These are clearly missing from the left’s public law fictions. If they put these ideas into practice when in power, they could create a state of civil war that could give the basis for foreign intervention and the establishment of a puppet government by the intervention. Fleck said all this in his capacity as head of the opposition’s staff of public law. As left-wing politicians did not distance themselves from it, his statements can be assumed to reflect the position of the entire left.
Zoltán Fleck is the director of the Eötvös Károly Institute (EKINT). The explanation for the political motivation behind his statements against the Fundamental Law and his vision of anarchy is given by the examination of the circumstances of the establishment of EKINT and its funding. According to the introduction on the organisation’s website, “Eötvös Károly Institute of Public Policy was established by the Soros Foundation in January 2003 in order to create a different, new institutional form for shaping democratic public life in Hungary.” So, this is a declared Soros organisation, which is still funded by the billionaire stock market speculator: between 2016 and 2020, the NGO received USD 129,000 (approximately HUF 43 million) in funding from the Open Society Foundations linked to George Soros. Fleck is one of the leaders of a (pseudo) NGO that receives significant funding from George Soros, who seeks to influence European politics. In line with the financier’s expectations, he regularly attacks the Hungarian government and stands up for the ideology of open societies. And the left asked a person representing Soros’ position to lead the staff of public law of their candidate for prime minister.