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Hungary: Groundwork for Campaign Finance Law

(Apr. 11, 2012) On April 4, 2012, the six parties represented in Hungary's National Assembly (Országgyulés) agreed on the main principles of political party and campaign financing in the country and signed an agreement to that effect. Under the agreement, the signatories have pledged to adopt legislation in the fall session “to ensure transparency and accountability in party and campaign financing.” (UPDATE – Parties Sign Declaration on Principles of Political Party Financing, MTI DAILY BULLETIN (Apr. 4, 2012).)

The principles set forth in the agreement, to be included in the legislation, are:

  • nominating organizations, nominees, and background organizations are to be transparent in handling their revenues and spending, and all information on the financial operations of political parties and associated foundations is to be treated as public information;
  • candidates are to be guaranteed equal media and other publicity coverage, with related financial data to be made public;
  • the central and local governments are to be banned from campaigning;
  • the State Audit Office is to exercise legal control over campaign financing; and
  • while a minimum amount of central funding is to be provided to the parties, they are encouraged to raise their own funds, avoiding “excessive dependency” on the state or business groups. (Id.)

The joint statement also emphasized that the above principles should be applied to municipal, general, and European Parliament election campaigns. The National Assembly will reportedly hold an open forum in May to discuss the party and campaign finance issue. (Id.)