Monday, April 26, 2010

Hungary votes II

Hungarians went back to the polls today in the second round of Parliamentary elections - and gave the right-wing Fidesz party a landslide victory. There's no question that Fidesz won, but at the same time the result highlights the perversity of the Hungarian electoral system.

Hungary uses a complicated version of Supplementary Member, with two rounds of constituency voting, regional lists determined by a separate party vote, and national "compensation seats" distributed according to the "fragmentary vote" (that is, the votes leftover when regional seats are allocated, combined with those for losing candidates). The result is a highly disproportional system. For example, Fidesz received 53% of the popular vote - and 68% of the seats. The Socialists got 20% of the vote and 15% of the seats, while the Green LMP got 7% of the vote and 4% of the seats.

The two-thirds majority artificially awarded to Fidesz as a result of this perverse system will allow them to change the constitution at will. And they plan to do exactly that, with changes proposed to the election system, media law, and local government. Some of these changes may be good (I don't know yet) - but the fact that they can be made unilaterally by a party with only 50% of the vote granted disproportionate power by an unfair electoral system is simply obscene.

Its a nice warning of the unfairness of SM systems, and a good reason to reject that system in 2011.