22 February 2022
As a group of leading election observer groups from across the EU and Hungarian civil society organisations, we are calling on OSCE participating States, and particularly those within the EU, to honour the recommendations made by OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and second long-term and short-term election observers to the full Election Observation Mission to the parliamentary elections in Hungary on April 3.
On February 4, following meetings with state institutions, election officials, representatives of political parties, media and civil society, ODIHR recommended that a full-scale Election Observation Mission (EOM) be deployed to Hungary for the parliamentary elections on April 3. Along with 18 long-term observers and a core team of analysts, the recommended mission includes 200 short-term observers (STOs) to specifically monitor election-day proceedings.
With domestic election observation not permitted under Hungarian electoral law, 20 leading Hungarian NGOs have argued that persistent trends of voter fraud on election day and concerns around the politicisation and impartiality of election administration, combined with a high degree of polarisation among the electorate, low public confidence in the fairness of the electoral process and the potential of a close electoral race, makes a fully-fledged OSCE election observation mission not just recommended but an absolute necessity.
ODIHR’s recommendation of a full EOM represents a significant warning by Europe’s main security watchdog on the threats to voting in an EU member state.
This landmark decision needs to be followed up by resolute action on the part of OSCE participating States. Given no single OSCE participating State can provide more than 15 percent of EOM observers, EU member States’ contribution to the EOM – by seconding sufficient numbers of election observers – will be crucial to ensure that ODIHR can fully perform its election observation functions.
At a time of increasing threats to democracy, the rule of law, and fundamental rights within the EU itself, EU member States must show resolve to uphold high democratic standards by enabling the OSCE to fully perform its mandate.
Election-Watch.EU, (Wahlbeobachtung.org), Austria
Expert Forum, Romania
Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (Társaság a Szabadságjogokért), Hungary
Hungarian Helsinki Committee (Magyar Helsinki Bizottság), Hungary
Political Capital Institute (Political Capital), Hungary
International Elections Study Center, Lithuania
MEMO 98, Slovakia
Political Accountability Foundation (Fundacja Odpowiedzialna Polityka), Poland
Unhack Democracy, Hungary