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Hungary

In law
47
In practice
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In Hungary, direct public funding is provided to parties and candidates, both in law and in practice. However, the agency in charge of making disbursements of state funds does not release detailed information on those payments to the public. Hungarian legislation also mandates that parties be allocated equitable access to advertising on public media, but this is not borne out in practice. Further, non-financial state resources are regularly abused during election campaigns, especially by the ruling part, Fidesz. Electoral spending is capped at a maximum limit, but restrictions on contribution are not as stringent. Cash and anonymous donations are permitted, and there is no limit on donations from individuals. State funds make up the largest chunk of parties' budgets, but other income streams, including private donations, are important. Financial reporting is required only after campaigns and, for parties, annually. In practice, parties and candidates fail to submit full reports on their contributors. Obtaining these reports is difficult for citizens, though journalists and civil society actors have accessed official data in their work. Third party actors are not especially prevalent in the electoral landscape, but those that do exist are not subject to any regulatory requirements. The two authorities in charge of overseeing political finance, the State Audit Office (SAO) and the State Treasury, are staffed by appointees who are not appointed in fully public, merit-based processes. In practice, the independence of the SAO is not fully guaranteed. The SAO does have the capacity to monitor political finance, and carried out some audits after the 2014 elections. However, the SAO does not have the authority to impose sanctions, and those enacted by the State Treasury, which monitors the use of state funding, are too weak to deter violators.

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    Direct and Indirect Public Funding

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      Direct Public Funding
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        1
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        YES
        In law, there is direct public funding for electoral campaigns.More about indicator

        According to the law, both candidates and parties are entitled to direct campaign funding. However, this law is only applicable for the general election and by-elections of MPs. (MPs receive the funding when they collect the required number of supporting signatures and officially register their participation on the parliamentary elections. That usually happens approx. 1 month prior the parliamentary elections. General elections are held every 4 years. In other periods candidates and parties don't receive direct funding for elections, however, parliamentary parties receive annual budgetary support for their everyday operations.) If a candidate or party fails to obtain 2% of the valid votes he/she/it shall pay back the amount of contribution to the Treasury.

        From Act LXXXVII/2013: "1§ (1) At the general elections and by-elections of the Members of the Parliament, each representative candidate for a single mandate constituency (hereinafter referred to as candidate) shall be entitled to support from the central budget amounting to one million HUF. [approx 4370 USD] 3§ (1) At the general election of the Members of the Parliament, the parties setting up a party list shall be entitled to the following amounts from the central budget specified in Section 5:

        a) 15% of the amount specified in Section 5 if they nominate a candidate in at least twenty-seven, b) 30% of the amount specified in Section 5 if they nominate a candidate in at least fifty-four, c) 45% of the amount specified in Section 5 if they nominate a candidate in at least eighty, d) 60% of the amount specified in Section 5 if they nominate a candidate in all single mandate constituencies.

        Section 5 (1) states: "the support according to Section 3 and Section 4 shall be based on the product of the total number of mandates that can be acquired at the general election of the Members of the Parliament multiplied by five million HUF [approx 21860 USD]. (2) From the year following the general election of the Members of the Parliament after the entry into force of this Act, the amount according to Subsection (1) shall be increased by the consumer price index determined by the Hungarian Central Statistical Office for the year preceding the year in question. "

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where there is direct public funding for both political parties and individual candidates to campaign. A 100 also applies where only one of the two actors can be elected and, therefore, only one is entitled to direct public funding.

        A MODERATE score is earned where per law only one of the two actors (either political parties or individual candidates) is allocated direct public funding to campaign, even though both can be elected.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources
        1. évi LXXXVII. törvény az országgy?lési képvisel?k választása kampányköltségeinek átláthatóvá tételér?l [Act LXXXVII of 2013 on the Transparency of Campaign Costs related to the Election of the Members of the Parliament] Available online at: http://njt.hu/cgibin/njtdoc.cgi?docid=161284.243512 (English version: http://valasztas.hu/en/ovi/241/241112.html ] Art 1 § (1), 3 § (1) In effect from 1/1/2014.)
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        YES
        In law, there is a transparent and equitable mechanism to determine direct public funding for electoral campaigns.More about indicator

        IMPORTANT NOTE: These rules are only applicable for the general elections and by-elections. The mechanism for allocating funding is both transparent and equitable, and the eligibilty criteria are clearly defined.

        From Act LXXXVII/2013: Section 1 (1) At the general elections and by-elections of the Members of the Parliament, each representative candidate for a single mandate constituency (hereinafter referred to as candidate) shall be entitled to support from the central budget amounting to one million HUF [4355 USD]. Section 3 (1) At the general election of the Members of the Parliament, the parties setting up a party list shall be entitled to the following amounts from the central budget specified in Section 5: a) 15% of the amount specified in Section 5 if they nominate a candidate in at least twenty-seven, b) 30% of the amount specified in Section 5 if they nominate a candidate in at least fifty-four, c) 45% of the amount specified in Section 5 if they nominate a candidate in at least eighty, d) 60% of the amount specified in Section 5 if they nominate a candidate in all [106] single mandate constituencies. (2) For the purposes of Subsection (1), parties setting up a joint party list shall be considered as a single party. Section 5 (1) The support according to Section 3(...) shall be based on the product of the total number of mandates [199] that can be acquired at the general election of the Members of the Parliament multiplied by five million HUF [21800 USD].

        These apply for all candidates and parties who have managed to set up a party list, if they run for elections. Conditions for running on the parliamentary elections are regulated by Act CCIII of 2011, which states:

        Section 5 (1) A candidate in any single-member constituency may run for election as a) the candidate of any political party or b) an independent candidate. Section 6 (1) Nomination in any single-member constituency shall be subject to a minimum of five hundred recommendations signed by voting citizens. Section 8 (1) Party list may be drawn up by any political partiy which nominated candidates independently in at least twenty-seven single-member constituencies within at least nine counties and in Budapest.

        Note that while regulations are clear and transparent, problems have arisen because it was relatively easy to collect 500 recommendations, and there were suspicions that citizens’ signatures were forged by ‘fake parties’. See Q3. for practical problems.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) direct public funding for political parties and individual candidates' electoral campaigns is allocated through a clearly defined calculation mechanism that is transparent and equitable, and 2) there are clearly defined eligibility criteria.

        A MODERATE score is earned where direct public funding for political party and individual candidates' electoral campaigns is allocated through a clearly defined calculation mechanism that is transparent and equitable, but eligibility criteria are not clearly defined.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Act regulating public funding of electoral campaigns: 2013. évi LXXXVII. törvény az országgy?lési képvisel?k választása kampányköltségeinek átláthatóvá tételér?l [Act LXXXVII of 2013 on the Transparency of Campaign Costs related to the Election of the Members of the Parliament] Available online at: http://njt.hu/cgibin/njtdoc.cgi?docid=161284.243512 (English version: http://valasztas.hu/en/ovi/241/241112.html ] Section 1 (1), 3(1), In effect from 1/1/2014.)

        Act regulating eligbility of candidates and parties for funding: 2011. évi CCIII. törvény az országgy?lési képvisel?k választásáról [ Act CCIII of 2011 On the Elections of Members of Parliament] Available online at: http://net.jogtar.hu/jr/gen/hjegydoc.cgi?docid=A1100203.TV (English version: http://valasztas.hu/en/ovi/241/2411_11.html] Section 5(1), 6(1), 8(1)

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        100
        In practice, to what extent is the mechanism to determine direct public funding for electoral campaigns transparent, equitable and consistently applied?More about indicator

        Both eligibility criteria and political campaign allocations and the process is defined in the law, and it is strictly followed by the law enforcement bodies, our NGO expert and the Treasury both confirmed. It is important to emphasize that while the eligibility criteria for parties and candidates were plain and equitable (basically all candidates received that managed to collect 500 recommendation from citizens got registered by the National Election Office and received support), the concrete rules of collecting recommendations were easy to circumvent (signatures could have been easily forged). So called "fake parties" could participate in the elections while receiving similar amounts of state support as serious political groups. Once a nominating organization or a candidate was registered by the national election office, they became entitled to recieve a state subsidy automatically. There were no complaints that parties or candidates would not receive funding prescribed by the law. According to the press 10 of the “fake parties” could have been affected by anomalies around collecting recommendations that led to investigations against them.

        Press releases by the Treasury and news articles showed that many candidates waived their right to use the state support and made it available for use by the party nominating them, but obviously this does not alter the total sum transferred to parties and their nominated candidates. The Treasury entered into individual contracts with 597 candidates, and 585 of them offered their state subsidy to their parties. These contracts are not available online, and the fact that there is no standardized form for the public financial statement makes it difficult to access information on candidates who have offered the support, which makes the process slightly non transparent. The published financial reports of the parties do not contain details of the offered state subsidy from individual candidates (though LMP’s report in the official gazette showed for instance the amount of the transferred support).

        "Fake parties" as such exploited the recommendations requirement for receiving state subsidies, and there's no compelling evidence that they spent public money for electoral campaign purposes. For example, the party Összefogás [Alliance] only published a two line report stating that all of the state subsidy was spent on the campaign according to the law.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. Checking all the reports from the parties there was no error where the sum calculated based on the law and the reported amount differed. In one case (Szociáldemokraták Magyar Polgári Pártja) the reported amount was 448 million HUF instead of 447,75 million HUF. This can be considered a rounding error, although the report is supposedly showing the amounts in thousand HUFs, thus the rounding was not justified.

        It is very important to highlight that this report is compiled by the parties, thus there is always the risk that they received more or less funds from the Treasury, but they reported that as appropriate to the law. Although this is a highly unprobable scenario.

        We could not confirm all the parties report, as some of them have not published their report in the Official Journal. For example the Jólét és Szabadság Pártja received support from the government for the elections, but did not publish its report on the expenditures in the given timeframe.

        Upon request the Treasury gives information on the alloted amount, as the cited article confirms. According to it there was four level of subsidy that is appropriate to the law.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) electoral campaigns allocations are always defined through a clearly defined transparent and equitable calculation mechanism, and 2) the defined eligibility criteria are applied consistently.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) electoral campaign allocations are usually defined through a clearly defined transparent and equitable calculation mechanism but exceptions exist, or 2) the eligibility criteria are usually applied but exceptions exist.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) political campaign allocations are rarely or never defined through a clearly defined transparent and equitable calculation mechanism, or 2) the defined eligibility criteria are rarely applied.

        Sources

        [Interview] -- Miklós Ligeti, legal director, Transparency International Hungary, Budapest, 18/07/2014. via email. -- Róbert László, election expert, Political Capital, Budapest, 05/08/2014. via phone. -- Official answer of the State Treasury Presidential Secretariat to our written questions 14/08/2014, Budapest. via email.

        [News] -- „Az ajánlási rendszer, úgy, ahogy van, megbukott" [The system of recommendations has failed], Zalán Zubor, HVG, 28/03/2014 available at: http://hvg.hu/itthon/20140328ajanlasirendszercsalasok
        --"Szepessy Zsolték egy mondattal letudták a választási beszámolót" [The party of Szepessy Zsolt dispatched financial reporting by one sentence, by ORIGO, origo.hu, 20/06/2014. available at: http://www.origo.hu/itthon/20140620-szepessy-zsoltek-egy-mondattal-letudtak-a-valasztasi-beszamolot.html]; -- "Ez a tíz párt lehet érintett a választási csalásban" [The following 10 parties could be affected by electoral fraud] by Szabolcs Panyi, INDEX.HU, 27/03/2014. available at: http://index.hu/belfold/2014/03/27/ez
        atizpartleheterintettavalasztasi_csalasban/

        [Other] -- Reports on election campaign spendings in the Official Journal Available online http://magyarkozlony.hu/hivatalos-lapok/b5008061a77cbfc4c912e1474045e6f1831c585e/dokumentumok/4453c8bf198bdf97d2d5df10867cfc9c78535245/letoltes and www.kozlonyok.hu/kozlonyok/Kozlonyok/12/PDF/2014/29.pdf 1) A Fidesz – Magyar Polgári Szövetség és a Kereszténydemokrata Néppárt beszámolója az országgy?lési képvisel?k 2014. évi általános választására fordított állami és más pénzeszközök, anyagi támogatások összegér?l, forrásáról és felhasználásának módjáról: page 3758 [Report of Fidesz - Hungarian Civic Alliance and Christian Democratic People's Party on the Amount, Source and Use of Public and Other Funds, Financial Support Spent by Members of Parliament on the 2014 General Elections] 2) A Magyar Szocialista Párt beszámolója az országgy?lési képvisel?k 2014. évi általános választására fordított állami és más pénzeszközök, anyagi támogatások összegér?l, forrásáról és felhasználásának módjáról: page 3836 [Report of the Hungarian Socialist Party on the Amount, Source and Use of Public and Other Funds, Financial Support Spent by Members of Parliament on the 2014 General Elections] 3) A Lehet Más a Politika beszámolója az országgy?lési képvisel?k 2014. évi általános választására fordított állami és más pénzeszközök, anyagi támogatások összegér?l: page 3834 [Report of the Politics Can Be Different Party on the Amount, Source and Use of Public and Other Funds, Financial Support Spent by Members of Parliament on the 2014 General Elections] 4) Az Összefogás Párt beszámolója az országgy?lési képvisel?k 2014. évi általános választására fordított állami és más pénzeszközök, anyagi támogatások összegér?l, forrásáról és felhasználásának módjáról [Report of the Alliance Party on the Amount, Source and Use of Public and Other Funds, Financial Support Spent by Members of Parliament on the 2014 General Elections] page 4204; available at: http://www.kozlonyok.hu/kozlonyok/Kozlonyok/12/PDF/2014/32.pdf

        -- Answer of the Treasury on a data request of a journalist on the FOI site KiMitTud.hu asking about candidates that offered their state support to their parties. 7 April 2014. Available at: http://kimittud.atlatszo.hu/request/egyeni-kepviselojeloltek-1-milli

        Reviewer's sources: Reports on election campaign spendings in the Official Journal, 2014. Available online http://www.kozlonyok.hu/kozlonyok/Kozlonyok/12/PDF/2014/33.pdf

        1) A Szociáldemokraták Magyar Polgári Pártja beszámolója az országgy?lési képvisel?k 2014. évi általános választására fordított állami és más pénzeszközök, anyagi támogatások összegér?l, forrásáról és felhasználásának módjáról [Report of Social Democrats' Hungarian Civic Party on the Amount, Source and Use of Public and Other Funds, Financial Support Spent by Members of Parliament on the 2014 General Elections] on page 4393

        [News] 5,8 milliárd állami támogatást kaptak az országos listát állító pártok [The parties setting up a list received 5,8 billion HUF subsidy], March 20, 2014. URL: http://vastagbor.blog.hu/2014/03/20/58milliardallamitamogatastkaptakazorszagoslistatallitopartok

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        25
        In practice, to what extent does the entity in charge of public funding make disbursement information publicly available?More about indicator

        According to the current regulation on campaign finance, the Hungarian State Treasury is in charge of public funding disbursement towards political parties and individual candidates. To invoke the state subsidies for the campaign, parties and candidates have to enter into contract with the Treasury. Disbursements are made by the competent County Financial Offices of the relevant constituencies. The agreements with the parties and the individual candidates, however, are not published by default, and the official website of the Treasury only contains blank contract forms with the necessary filling instructions for the contracting parties.

        Disbursement and spending data is not published by the Treasury but they can be subjects of freedom of information requests – according to the statement given by the Treasury.  However, an information request filed with the Treasury seeking detailed disbursement information was denied. Indeed, the Treasury refused to provide information about the exact detailed content of the „invoice summarizing forms” which contains the most details about campaign spending and the use of state subsidies. There is an ongoing judicial process in order to access such data.

        Political parties and individual candidates have to publish a financial report on the allocation and spending of their campaign resources in the Official Journal within 60 days after the end of the campaign period, but these reports consist of rather superficial financial information.

        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - The entity in charge of public funding (Hungarian State Treasury) does not publish a report on the disbursement of the allocated subsidy. Upon request the data can be obtained, although it only contains the amount paid to each party, no detailed information below that can be obtained. This is in line with the answer's remark that there is an ongoing judicial process.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) complete information on the disbursements is published less than a month after disbursement, and 2) the information is available on the Internet for free or in hard copy at photocopying cost.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) the information published is incomplete or published more than two months after disbursement, or 2) obtaining the information costs more than photocopying.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) disbursement information is published more than four months after disbursement, or 2) no disbursement information is published or released upon request.

        Sources

        [Interview] -- Róbert László, election specialist, Political Capital, Budapest 05/08/2014. via phone. -- Miklós Ligeti, legal director, Transparency International Hungary, Budapest, 08/08/2014. via phone

        [News]

        Egymilliárd forintnyi kampányköltés – titok, hogy pontosan mire ment [1,000 million HUF campaign spending - the purpose and details of which are secret] by Dorottya Somogyi, VS.HU. 13/06/2014. available at http://vs.hu/egymilliard-forintnyi-kampanykoltes-titok-hogy-pontosan-mire-ment-0613

        [Other]

        Official statement of the Treasury, Budapest, 13/08/2014. via email. -- Reports on election campaign spendings in the Official Journal Available online http://magyarkozlony.hu/hivatalos-lapok/b5008061a77cbfc4c912e1474045e6f1831c585e/dokumentumok/4453c8bf198bdf97d2d5df10867cfc9c78535245/letoltes and www.kozlonyok.hu/kozlonyok/Kozlonyok/12/PDF/2014/29.pdf 1) A Fidesz – Magyar Polgári Szövetség és a Kereszténydemokrata Néppárt beszámolója az országgy?lési képvisel?k 2014. évi általános választására fordított állami és más pénzeszközök, anyagi támogatások összegér?l, forrásáról és felhasználásának módjáról: page 3758 [Report of Fidesz - Hungarian Civic Alliance and Christian Democratic People's Party on the Amount, Source and Use of Public and Other Funds, Financial Support Spent by Members of Parliament on the 2014 General Elections] 2) A Magyar Szocialista Párt beszámolója az országgy?lési képvisel?k 2014. évi általános választására fordított állami és más pénzeszközök, anyagi támogatások összegér?l, forrásáról és felhasználásának módjáról: page 3836 [Report of the Hungarian Socialist Party on the Amount, Source and Use of Public and Other Funds, Financial Support Spent by Members of Parliament on the 2014 General Elections] 3) A Lehet Más a Politika beszámolója az országgy?lési képvisel?k 2014. évi általános választására fordított állami és más pénzeszközök, anyagi támogatások összegér?l: page 3834 [Report of the Politics Can Be Different Party on the Amount, Source and Use of Public and Other Funds, Financial Support Spent by Members of Parliament on the 2014 General Elections]

        Reviewer's sources: [News] 5,8 milliárd állami támogatást kaptak az országos listát állító pártok [The parties setting up a list received 5,8 billion HUF subsidy], March 20, 2014. URL: http://vastagbor.blog.hu/2014/03/20/58milliardallamitamogatastkaptakazorszagoslistatallitopartok

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      Indirect Public Funding
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        5
        Score
        NO
        In law, use of state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates is prohibited.More about indicator

        There is no explicit law prohibiting the use of state funds in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates. However one of the governing principles of Act 2013. évi XXXVI. törvény a választási eljárásról [Act XXXVI of 2013 on Electoral Procedure] is that the election process should guarantee “equal opportunities for candidates and nominating organizations” (Section 2(1) c)) . This section is widely referenced in election-related court cases and debates.

        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. The answer's law reference is correct, only a principle states that the election process should guarantee equal opportunites. This does not prohibit using state resources, as they can be used if their use is somehow construed to satisfy the cited principle. As it is not explicitly prohibited, the content of the principle is based on the Supreme Court's decisions, whether an action can be decreed as biased towards one or more candidate.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where there is an explicit ban on the use of state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates. A YES is also earned where there are clearly defined exceptions, which are accessible to all actors equally.

        A MODERATE score is earned where an explicit ban exists but it only applies to one of the two actors, even though both can be elected. A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        A NO score is also earned where the law exists, but allows discretionary exceptions.

        Sources
        1. évi XXXVI. törvény a választási eljárásról [Act XXXVI of 2013 on Electoral Procedure] Available online at: http://net.jogtar.hu/jr/gen/hjegydoc.cgi?docid=A1300036.TV(English version: http://valasztas.hu/en/ovi/241/2411_10.html ] Section 2 (1) c) in effect from 01/01/2014.
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        0
        In practice, to what extent are no state resources used in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates' electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        Using state resources in electoral campaigns has been a well-known phenomenon in previous electoral campaigns as well. While it is hard to assess the extent to which state funds are used ( e.g. a high-profile inauguration ceremony of a highway in the campaign period which promotes the Government might count also as using state resources in the campaign), some cases allow for easy evaluation.

        Transparency International, K-Monitor Association and Atlatszo.hu conducted a joint research project (called ‘Képmutatás’ - Hypocrisy) to estimate the real costs of the campaign, and according to their assessment, the Government itself has spent nearly 600 million HUF (2.6 million USD) in direct promotion of the reigning majority parties. Such spending obviously does not appear in the account of parties or candidates, and are rather a kind of self-promotion by the Government, using the same image components and slogans as the supported party. Fidesz has paid 400.000 HUF (1725 USD) to the Government for the use of the Government’s slogan and design elements which originally cost the Government 150 million HUF (646.000 USD) – which should count for a significant in-kind donation from the Government in favour of a party. The same applies for local governments as well – in some cases identity elements of the self-advertisements of the local government were hardly distinguishable from that of the supported party’s.

        Nevertheless, a very important decision of the Curia (Supreme Court) has recently concluded that the determining factor in deciding whether an advertisement (or other tool) can count for a campaign element (an advertisement) is not the customer, but the content of the advertisement, and therefore the government or local governments are subjects of the Act on elections, and it should be banned for them to campaign in favor of a political force as it might violate the principle of equal chances, and otherwise it might circumvene the regulations of political financing.

        According to the press, local government employees and public workers were used in Jászapáti to collect recommendations for the candidate of the governing party (Fidesz). Public workers were allegedly also used for protesting against the prominent representative (Gordon Bajnai) of the electoral coalition of Together 2014 - Dialogue for Hungary in 2013, and the statement found a strong media response.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. There were numerous cases where the Supreme Court decided that some actions of the municipalities were not legal according to the principle of providing equal opportunities to all the candidates. These were for example financing from the municipalities' budget a giveaway of in-kind donations to people or advertisement of the mayor who is also a candidate in the local newspaper.

        Another aspect of using state resources is not the financial resources, but the power available to the executive. These are not well-documented cases, but the executive has access to confidential secret agency information (this is a good source for creating bad publicity for other candidates) and also has access to crime departments (namely using the police action to create negative news about other candidates or parties). There was one notable case during the elections where the vice-president of a party was arrested and charged with using forged documents to hide his money in foreign bank accounts. In this case the timing was interesting as the arrest did not take place until one month before the elections even though the police had collected their evidence well before that date.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where there is no evidence of authorities using state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates. A 100 is also earned where there are clearly defined exceptions and are equally accessible to all actors.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) documented evidence indicates occasional use of state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates, or 2) clearly defined exceptions are not equally accessible to all actors.

        A 0 score is earned where documented evidence indicates regular use of state resources in favor of or against certain political parties and individual candidates.

        Sources

        [Interview] -- Miklós Ligeti, legal director, Transparency International Hungary, Budapest, 18/07/2014. via email. -- Zoltán Miklósi, Research Director, Eötvös Károly Institute, Assistant Professor, Central European University, 10/08/2014, via email.

        [Court Decision] --Kúria Kvk.III.37.328/2014/6. számú határozat. [Decision Kvk.III.37.328/2014/6. of the Curia of Hungary (Supreme Court)] Available at: http://www.lb.hu/hu/valhat/kvkiii3732820146-szamu-hatarozat states that it was against the law to air government advertisement with the same content that is used by a party (Fidesz). In this case the campaign law would apply that stipulates different advertising conditions.

        --[News article] Tiltott állami támogatás a Fidesz kampányának? [Illegal state support for the Fidesz campaign?] / Károly Lencsés / Népszabadság / March 21 2014 / http://nol.hu/belfold/tiltott-allami-tamogatas-1451417 claiming after the mentioned decision of the supreme court that all government propaganda might be illegal according to experts, since governmental billboard ads are also widespread.

        -- Önkormányzati alkalmazottak, közmunkások segítik a fideszes polgármester kampányát [Local government employees and public workers support the campaign of the Fidesz mayor], Judit Doros, NOL, 20/02/2014. Available at: http://nol.hu/belfold/intezmenyvezetokissegitikafideszespocsjanos_kampanyat-1445999

        -- Együtt-PM: 5 ezer forintért közmunkások tüntettek Bajnai ellen [Together - Dialogue for Hungary: public workers protested against Bajnai for 5000 HUF [approx 22 USD] by MTI, origo.hu, 24/11/2014. available at: http://www.origo.hu/itthon/20131124-egyutt-pm-5-ezer-forintert-kozmunkasok-tuntettek-bajnai-ellen.html

        Reviewer's sources: [Supreme Court decisions] --Kúria Kvk.IV.37.359/2014/2. számú határozat. [Decision Kvk.IV.37.359/2014/2. of the Curia of Hungary (Supreme Court)] Available at: http://www.lb.hu/hu/valhat/kvkiv3735920142-szamu-hatarozat states that it was against the law to advertise in the local newspaper one of the candidate's and the municiplaity's results.

        --Kúria Kvk.II.37.395/2014/2. számú határozat [Decision Kvk.II.37.395/2014/2. számú határozat of the Curia of Hungary (Supreme Court)] Available at: http://www.lb.hu/hu/valhat/kvkii3739520142-szamu-hatarozat states that it was against the law that on of the candidates (who was also the mayor) participated in distributing in kind-donations in a kindergarten.

        [News] Spirk József, Dezs? András: ?rizetbe vették Simon Gábort [Gábor Simon arrested], Index.hu, 10/03/2014; URL: http://index.hu/belfold/2014/03/10/hamisafrikaiutleveletcsinaltatottsimon_gabor/

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        7
        Score
        YES
        In law, political parties and individual candidates have free or subsidized access to equitable air time for electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        By law, media providers either choose not to broadcast political advertisments (any content promoting or advocating support for a nominating organisation or independent candidate, or promoting the name, objectives, activities, slogan, or emblem of such entities) at all or they have to provide equal access to parties and candidates for free. Access to air time is strictly regulated for public media providers.

        All candidates and nominating parties registered by the Election Office are eligible for free access (Conditions for running are defined in different electoral laws – generally candidates / parties have to collect a certain number of recommendations.).

        [to be noted: The fifth constitutional amendment annulled the ban on campaign advertising on commercial television, so political advertisements on commercial TV became legal, though they still had to be provided either for free for all those who qualify as candidates or alternatively not at all.]

        These requirements are spelled out in Act XXXVI of 2013, which states:

        Section 147 (1) In the campaign period, political advertisements shall be broadcast by the media provider with identical conditions – especially with regard to the number, appearing order, timeframe and time of broadcast of politcal advertisements – offered to nominating organisations that put forward candidates and the independent candidates. In case of joint candidates the nominating organisations are entitled jointly to order political advertisement. (2) No opinion, assessing explanation shall be attached to such political advertisements. (3) Media content providers shall not demand or accept consideration for broadcasting political advertisements. (3) In the 48 hours before the voting, public service media content providers shall not broadcast political advertisements. (4) Those who provide political advertisements to be broadcast in audio-visual media shall arrange for the advertisements to be subtitled or supplemented with sign language interpreting. (4a) No political advertisement shall be published on ballot day. (5) In other regards, the rules of the Media Act shall apply to the broadcasting of political advertisements.

        Section 147/A (1) During the campaign period before the general election of members of parliament, after the legally binding registration of national lists public media services shall broadcast in their linear media services political advertisements thereof in the order as determined by the National Election Commission according to (2). (2) During the campaign period before the general election of members of parliament the timeframe for broadcasting political advertisement shall be 470 minutes for nominating organisations putting forward party lists and 130 minutes for organizations putting forward national minority lists. The time available to the nominating organizations shall be divided in equal proportions between party lists and national minority lists. Time available for nominating organizations shall be divided in equal proportions per public media service. (3) Political advertisement shall be published by the public media provider in the media service with the the greatest yearly audience rate. (4) The media provider shall broadcast 3 times per day without interruption the political advertisements in the timeframes between 6-8, 12-14 and 18-20 o’clock. Political advertisement of nominating organisations putting forward party lists and organizations putting forward national minority lists shall be broadcasted in a row. The broadcast order of the political advertisements shall be changed daily for the sake of equal opportunity. (5) The public media provider shall broadcast the political advertisement in the day and timeframe as requested by the nominating organization. The nominating organisation may request the broadcasting of political advertisement in one timeframe – for a duration of maximally one minute – only once per day. (6) The media provider is only obliged to broadcast the political advertisement if the nominating organization hands over its political advertisement latest on the second day before the planned broadcast.

        Section 147/B Provisions of Section 147/A shall apply also for purposes of the election of members of the European Parliament, with the exception that available broadcast time regarding all lists and all public media providers shall be 300 minutes alltogether.

        Section 147/C Provisions of Section 147/A shall apply also for purposes of the election of municipality representatives and mayors, with the exception that: a) political advertisements of those 8 nominating organisations shall be broadcast, that put forward the most candidates for municipality representative or mayor in countrywide comparison; joint candidates and lists shall be taken into consideration based on proportion of the nominations, b) available broadcast time regarding all lists and all public media providers shall be 300 minutes altogether.

        Section 147/D During the general elections of the national minority representatives on the day before ballot day public media providers shall broadcast the political advertisements of nominating organizations putting forward national lists one time, for a duration of 30 seconds per political advertisement. Provisions of Section 147/A (3) and (6) shall apply for the broadcasting.

        Section 147/E The public media provider is not allowed to broadcast any further political advertisement other than those according to 147/A-147/D.

        Section 147/F (1) In the campaign period before the general election media providers with country-wide available linear media services not falling under provisions of Section 147/A-147/E shall notify in a declaration the National Election Commission about their intention to broadcast political advertisements, also designating the used country-wide available linear media service/es/, latest by the 50th day before ballot day. Failing to comply with this deadline shall result in not being allowed to broadcast political advertisements. The National Election Office shall publish on its official website the declarations of the concerned media providers, their name and the timeframe secured for the broadcast. (2) During general elections to the parliament, elections to the European Parliament, rovisions of Section147/A-147/E shall apply with the exception of 147/A (3) adding that: a) the media provider shall determine the timeframe available per media service for broadcasting political advertisements, but the timeframe shall not be less than half of the timeframe per public media provider, b) the media provider shall indicate in the declaration according to (1) also the timeframe according to a) c) if the timeframe according to a) diverges from the timeframe per public media provider, the National Election Commission shall proportionally lower or increase the timeframe for each nominating organization.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) free or subsidized access to air time for electoral campaigns is granted in a transparent, equitable way, and 2) there are clearly defined eligibility criteria.

        A MODERATE score is earned where free or subsidized access to air time for electoral campaigns is granted in a transparent, equitable way, but eligibility criteria are not clearly defined.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources
        1. évi XXXVI. törvény a választási eljárásról [Act XXXVI of 2013 on Electoral Procedure] Available online at: http://net.jogtar.hu/jr/gen/hjegydoc.cgi?docid=A1300036.TV [English version: http://valasztas.hu/en/ovi/241/2411_10.html ] Sections 147-147/F

        2. évi CLXXXV. törvény a médiaszolgáltatásokról és a tömegkommunikációról [Act CLXXXV of 2010 on Media Services and on the Mass Media] available online at: http://njt.hu/cgibin/njtdoc.cgi?docid=133252.262808 [English version: http://nmhh.hu/dokumentum/162261/mttv110803en_final.pdf]

        Magyarország alaptörvénye [Fundamental Law of Hungary] available online at: http://net.jogtar.hu/jr/gen/hjegy_doc.cgi?docid=A1100425.ATV [English version: http://www.kormany.hu/download/e/02/00000/The%20New%20Fundamental%20Law%20of%20Hungary.pdf] Article IX (3) in effect from 1/10/2013.

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        8
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        50
        In practice, to what extent is free or subsidized access to air time provided in a transparent, equitable way to political parties and individual candidates for electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        Legislation passed a new bill on Electoral Procedure in 2013, that - - complemented with the provisions of Act CLXXXV of 2010 - introduced new regulations on broadcasting political advertisements. According to this new legislation, public media providers had to grant free air time for political advertisements of all eligible nominating parties registered by the Election Office. The access-conditions were laid down equally for every nominating party and candidate.

        Commercial media providers could choose not to broadcast political advertisements or they had to grant equal access to parties and candidates for free. The amount of air time provided to political purpose supposed to be less significant in size compared to public media providers. In spite of this fact no commercial broadcaster made a statement about letting political advertisements into their advertising program time. Therefore the sole platform of media campaign remained the broadcast time of public media providers (namely M1, M2, Duna, Duna World, Kossuth, Bartók, Pet?fi). The regulation created - on the level of declaration- a fair, transparent equitable system, where every party had access to the same amount of advertising time.

        However, the public media providers are not considered as independent public financed organisations, as being severely influenced by the government. Though the parties had equal access to advertising time, the public media news and newsreels were biased towards the government. According to Attila Batorfy, even the National Media and Infocommunications Authority condemned the public providers for their unbalanced coverage, which allowed the governing parties to extend the scope of their electoral media campaign.

        Beside that, the rules of political advertising do not apply for governmental and community facility advertisements, so the governing parties had the chance beyond the common equal time frame to let their messages broadcast by public and commercial media providers before the beginning of the electoral campaign. At the beginning of the campaign period, the major governing party purchased the slogans, logos, and other image components of the governmental advertisements, therefore these parties had a prolonged and extended media campaign compared to the other parties and candidates. According to OSCE’s report on the Hungarian elections “In the current media environment, the absence of other political advertisements on nationwide commercial television, combined with a significant amount of government advertisements, undermined the equal and unimpeded access of contestants to the media."


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. The public media created a distinct unit in its organization, called "Közmédia Választási Iroda" [Public Media Election Office] with the task of supervising the principles laid down in the law. After the election the Office did not report the results of its activity, thus it is not known how the allocated time was distributed among the parties.

        However, according to the ODIHR report, access to public media was distributed according to the law. The main problem was not the legally provided air-time but other programmes (like daily news) where the governing party received a lot of positive coverage, and the opposition received only negative coverage.

        Az EBESZ/ODIHR Korlátozott Választási Megfigyel? Misszió Zárójelentése: Magyarország országgy?lési választások 2014. április 6 [Hungary, Parliamentary Elections, 6 April 2014: Final Report of OSCE/ODIHR Limited Election Observation Mission]; available at: http://www.osce.org/hu/odihr/elections/hungary/122210?download=true [English version available at: http://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/hungary/121098] on page 18

        KÖZLEMÉNY a 2014-es választási id?szak politikai reklámjainak sugárzásáról, és további médiafelületek biztosításáról [Announcement on airing the political advertisements and providing other media opportunites for the parties for the elections of 2014] URL: http://www.mtva.hu/hu/sajtoszoba-main/sajtokozlemenyek/vallalati-sajtokozlemenyek/7274-koezlemeny-a-2014-es-valasztasi-idoszak-politikai-reklamjainak-sugarzasarol-es-tovabbi-mediafelueletek-biztositasarol

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) free or subsidized access to media advertising is always provided in a transparent and equitable way, and 2) the defined eligibility criteria are applied consistently.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) free or subsidized access to media advertising is usually provided in a transparent and equitable way, but exceptions exist, or 2) the eligibility criteria are not always applied.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) there's rarely free or subsidized access to air time for political campaign, and 2) access exists but is not provided in a transparent, equitable way.

        Sources

        [Interview] --Bátorfy Attila, journalist, Kreatív.online, Budapest 06/08/2014. via e-mail. --Erik Uszkiewicz, media researcher, Mérték Médialemz? M?hely [Mérték Media Monitor], Budapest 28/07/2014. via e-mail

        [News] -- Ki az, aki jobban teljesít? [Who performs better?] by Krisztina Nagy, HVG. 19/03/2014. available at: http://mertek.hvg.hu/2014/03/19/ki-az-aki-jobban-teljesit/

        [Other] -- Médiatanács: kiegyensúlyozatlan az "Este" ["The Evening" was unbalanced according to the Media Council] published by the Media Council of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority on its official website 28/04/2011. available at: http://mediatanacs.hu/cikk/1332/MediatanacskiegyensulyozatlanvoltAzEste

        [Secondary source] Az EBESZ/ODIHR Korlátozott Választási Megfigyel? Misszió Zárójelentése: Magyarország országgy?lési választások 2014. április 6 [Hungary, Parliamentary Elections, 6 April 2014: Final Report of OSCE/ODIHR Limited Election Observation Mission]; available at: http://www.osce.org/hu/odihr/elections/hungary/122210?download=true [English version available at: http://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/hungary/121098]

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    Contribution and Expenditure Restrictions

    More about category
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      General Rules on Electoral Campaign Contributions
      More about category
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        9
        Score
        NO
        In law, cash contributions are banned.More about indicator

        No such law exists.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where cash contributions are banned and all financial contributions must be made via the banking system.

        A MODERATE score is earned where cash contributions are allowed up to a maximum limit, regardless of the limit.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        No such law exists.

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        10
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, there is a ban on anonymous contributions.More about indicator

        According to Act XXXIII/1989, which regulates the financial management of parties, there is a general ban on accepting anonymous contributions. ("4 § (3) (...)The party may not accept anonymous donations; such donations shall be transferred to the foundation provided at § 8 line (1).")

        "8. § (1) If a political party is terminated under certain then the ownership of its assets remaining after the satisfaction of the creditors has to be transferred to the foundation that is established by the Parliament." The Parliament has not decided yet to establish such a foundation, and in the only known case of accepting anonymous contribution, the party had to offer the donation to the central budget. (Case happened in 2012.)

        This law only applies to parties. There is no such restriction for individual candidates.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where the law stipulates that anonymous contributions are banned.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the ban exists, but it applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates). A MODERATE score is also earned where small anonymous donations are allowed up to a maximum threshold equal to or less than the equivalent to US$300.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources
        1. évi XXXIII. törvény a pártok m?ködésér?l és gazdálkodásáról. [Act XXXIII of 1989 on the Operation and Financial Management of Political Parties] Available online at: http://njt.hu/cgibin/njtdoc.cgi?docid=11014.262767 Section 4 § (3) Relevant Section in effect from 1989. An English translation is available at http://www.partylaw.leidenuniv.nl/party-law/4dd27714-1b94-4e59-a9b1-089884e5412d.pdf , however, it does not contain the latest amendments.]
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        11
        Score
        NO
        In law, in-kind donations to political parties and individual candidates must be reported.More about indicator

        No rule explicitly regulates the reporting of in-kind donations. A general rule about the operation of parties may be relevant here (Act XXXIII of 1989 on the Operation and Financial Management of Political Parties Section 4 (5)) “If the asset contribution was not provided in the form of money to the political party, then it is obliged to ensure its evaluation (the determination of its value).” Parties should obviously indicate these amounts in their annual reports, but evaluations are not public, and the requirement is not explicit in regards to in-kind donations.

        Independent candidates and parties are not required to explicitly report any in-kind donations in their electoral reports but according to Section 9 (1) of Act XXXIII/1989, “candidates and nominating organisations shall publish in the Official Gazette of Hungary the amount, source and use of state and other funds spent on the election within 60 days after the election of the Members of the Parliament”, which would denote that reporting about in-kind donations are no exception. Note that this provision only applies for parliamentary elections, and that candidates generally do not have their own campaign budgets.

        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. The regulation does not differentiate between financial and in-kind donations. The parties have to report donations above 500 thousand HUF individually, but that only applies to the name of the donor, not the nature of the donation. In their public reports the candidates only have to include additional sources if they spent more than the allocated 1 million HUF of state subsidy. But this is not a standardised report, thus it is enoughcor candidates to state any additional resources are their "own resources". It is also to be noted that the restrictions to donations only apply to parties and candidates supported by a party, the independent candidates can accept support from corporations or any other organization.

        Summarizing the answer the in-kind donations are only reported at the parties, but in an aggregated form, thus the revenue from in-kind donations is not known. As an explicit item is not required for reporting in-kind donations, I agree with the recommended score.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where all in-kind donations must be reported to the oversight authority.

        A MODERATE score is also earned if the requirement to report such information exists, but applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources
        1. évi XXXIII. törvény a pártok m?ködésér?l és gazdálkodásáról. [Act XXXIII of 1989 on the Operation and Financial Management of Political Parties] Available online at: http://njt.hu/cgibin/njtdoc.cgi?docid=11014.262767 Section 4 § (5) Relevant Section in effect from 1992. An English translation is available at http://www.partylaw.leidenuniv.nl/party-law/4dd27714-1b94-4e59-a9b1-089884e5412d.pdf , however, it does not contain the latest amendments.]

        2. évi LXXXVII. törvény az országgy?lési képvisel?k választása kampányköltségeinek átláthatóvá tételér?l [Act LXXXVII of 2013 on the Transparency of Campaign Costs related to the Election of the Members of the Parliament ] Available online at: http://njt.hu/cgibin/njtdoc.cgi?docid=161284.243512 (English version: http://valasztas.hu/en/ovi/241/241112.html ] Art 9 (1), In effect from 1/1/2014.)

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        12
        Score
        NO
        In law, loans to political parties and individual candidates must be reported.More about indicator

        No such law exists.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where all loans must be reported to the oversight authority.

        A MODERATE score is earned where loans must be reported, but the requirement applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        No such law exists.

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      Limits on Contributions and Expenditures during Electoral Campaign Periods
      More about category
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        13
        Score
        NO
        In law, contributions from individuals are limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        There is no limit on accepting contributions from individuals either for candidates or parties. However, a general rule on the financial management of parties bans contributions from non-Hungarian citizens. From Section 4(3) of Act XXXIII of 1989: “The party may not accept patrimony contributions from (...) natural persons who are not Hungarian citizens.”

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) individuals may not contribute more than a maximum amount established by the law.

        A MODERATE score is earned where a maximum amount exists, but it applies only to contributions for one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates). A MODERATE score is also earned where individuals are forbidden from making any contribution.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources
        1. évi XXXIII. törvény a pártok m?ködésér?l és gazdálkodásáról. [Act XXXIII of 1989 on the Operation and Financial Management of Political Parties] Available online at: http://njt.hu/cgibin/njtdoc.cgi?docid=11014.262767 Section 4 § (3) Relevant Section in effect from 2014. An English translation is available at http://www.partylaw.leidenuniv.nl/party-law/4dd27714-1b94-4e59-a9b1-089884e5412d.pdf , however, it does not contain the latest amendments.]
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        14
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, contributions from corporations are limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        There is no limit on accepting contributions from corporations for candidates, however it should be emphasized again, that as most candidates on the general parliamentary elections are nominated by parties, and their campaigns are organized and funded centrally, this distinction has little relevance (There are no direct elections for president or any other high-ranking officials either.)

        A general rule on the financial management of parties bans contributions from almost any kind of organizations (except the Hungarian state and corporations owned by the parties themselves). From Section 4(3) of Act XXXIII/1989: “The party may not accept patrimony contributions from (...) juridical persons and organizations without legal personalities”

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) corporations may not contribute more than a maximum amount established by the law.

        A MODERATE score is earned where a maximum amount or ban exists, but it applies only to contributions for one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates). A MODERATE score is also earned where corporations are forbidden from making any contribution.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources
        1. évi XXXIII. törvény a pártok m?ködésér?l és gazdálkodásáról. [Act XXXIII of 1989 on the Operation and Financial Management of Political Parties] Available online at: http://njt.hu/cgibin/njtdoc.cgi?docid=11014.262767 Section 4 § (3) Relevant Section in effect from 2014. An English translation is available at http://www.partylaw.leidenuniv.nl/party-law/4dd27714-1b94-4e59-a9b1-089884e5412d.pdf , however, it does not contain the latest amendments.]
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        15
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, contributions from foreign sources are banned.More about indicator

        Former rules only restricted contributions from foreign states. From 2014, new provisions restrict contributions from any foreign organizations and citizens. The rule applies to the general financial management of parties, there are no particular laws restricting foreign contributions for individual candidates during election campaigns.

        Art 4 § (3) Part of relevant section in effect from 1989 ("The party may not accept patrimony contributions from other states"), and in 2013, an amendment added further restrictions to this section, and banned almost all kinds of foreign contributions from 1/1/2014 ("The party may not accept patrimony contributions from foreign organizations – regardless of their legal statuses – and natural persons who are not Hungarian citizens.")
        The whole Section is as follows: "The party may not accept patrimony contributions from other states. The party may not accept patrimony contributions from foreign organizations – regardless of their legal statuses – and natural persons who are not Hungarian citizens. The party may not accept anonymous donations; such donations shall be transferred to the foundation provided at § 8 line (1)."

        So, from 1/1/2014 apart from donations from foreign states, contributions from other foreign organizations and persons are also banned.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where it is forbidden for political parties and individual candidates to receive contributions (financial or in-kind) from foreign sources.

        A MODERATE score is earned where: 1) the ban exists but it applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates), or 2) contributions from foreign sources are allowed to a maximum amount.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources
        1. évi XXXIII. törvény a pártok m?ködésér?l és gazdálkodásáról. [Act XXXIII of 1989 on the Operation and Financial Management of Political Parties] Available online at: http://njt.hu/cgibin/njtdoc.cgi?docid=11014.262767 An English version is available at http://www.partylaw.leidenuniv.nl/party-law/4dd27714-1b94-4e59-a9b1-089884e5412d.pdf , but it does not contain the latest amendments.
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        16
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, contributions from third-party actors (unions, foundations, think tanks, political action committees, etc.) are limited to a maximum amount or banned.More about indicator

        There is no limit on accepting contributions from legal entities for candidates, however it should be emphasized again, that as most candidates on the general parliamentary elections are nominated by parties, and their campaigns are organized and funded centrally, this distinction has little relevance (There are no direct elections for president or any other high-ranking officials either.)

        A general rule on the financial management of parties bans contributions from almost any kind of organizations (except the Hungarian state and corporations owned by the parties themselves). From Section 4(3) of At XXXIII/1989: “The party may not accept patrimony contributions from (...) juridical persons and organizations without legal personalities”

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) third-party actors may not contribute more than a maximum amount established by the law, or 2) are forbidden from making any contribution.

        A MODERATE score is earned where: 1) the maximum amount or ban exists only for the majority of third-party actors, but not all, or 2) the maximum amount or ban exists, but applies only to contributions for either political parties or individual candidates.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources
        1. évi XXXIII. törvény a pártok m?ködésér?l és gazdálkodásáról. [Act XXXIII of 1989 on the Operation and Financial Management of Political Parties] Available online at: http://njt.hu/cgibin/njtdoc.cgi?docid=11014.262767 Section 4 § (3) Relevant Section in effect from 2014. An English translation is available at http://www.partylaw.leidenuniv.nl/party-law/4dd27714-1b94-4e59-a9b1-089884e5412d.pdf , however, it does not contain the latest amendments.]
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        17
        Score
        YES
        In law, election campaign spending by political parties and individual candidates is limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        According to the act on regulating public funding of electoral campaigns there are strict rules on campaign spending for both candidates and parties.

        From Section 7 (1) of LXXXVII/2013: to cover their costs related to election campaign activities during the election campaign period,

        a) the independent candidate, b) the party nominating a candidate or setting up a party list and the candidate thereof together, for each candidate, c) the national minority self-government setting up a national minority list at the general election of the Members of the Parliament, for each candidate may use a maximum of five million HUF. (21800 USD)

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where it is forbidden for political parties and individual candidates to spend more than a certain amount in a political campaign.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the maximum amount exists, but it applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Act regulating public funding of electoral campaigns: 2013. évi LXXXVII. törvény az országgy?lési képvisel?k választása kampányköltségeinek átláthatóvá tételér?l [Act LXXXVII of 2013 on the Transparency of Campaign Costs related to the Election of the Members of the Parliament ], in effect from 01/01/2014 Available online at: http://njt.hu/cgibin/njtdoc.cgi?docid=161284.243512 (English version: http://valasztas.hu/en/ovi/241/241112.html ] Section 7 (1)

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        18
        Score
        --
        Open Question: Do the national laws regulating political finance also apply to sub-national units? If not, to what extent do sub-national units have laws regulating political finance?More about indicator

        Hungary is not a federal country. Besides general election and by-election of MPs, there are two types of elections: the election of Members of the European Parliament and the election of local governments. The most recent local elections happened in 2010, the next one is due in 2014 October, which will occur according to new laws.

        The Act 2013 on Electoral Procedure applies for the “elections of representatives and mayors of municipalities”, but it regulates campaign tools and general rules of elections, and says nothing about campaign financing. Meanwhile, local electoral campaigns in bigger towns are generally coordinated by national parties, and general rules on party financing (such as bans on certain type of contributions) apply for them in the local electoral campaign period as well.

        According to our expert, rules on campaign spending limits, state support, and reporting as regulated at the national elections don’t apply to local elections. There are no special rules on financing candidates either which is clearly a regulation gap that hinders transparency of party finance, because political parties for instance can accumulate state subsidies invoked for general elections, and later use for local governmental campaign purposes, which has a bad effect on transparency. One example of this gap is the fashion in which local government employees of Jászapáti were used to collect recommendations on behalf of the governing Fidez party is the spring of 2014.

        Local governments have no power to establish particular rules on political financing.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - The rules regulating the national elections are more detailed and strict than the rules regluating local elections. One gap in this is that the mayor can use municipal resources in support of his party's candidate. Another gap is that regulations at the local level are less onerous, and as a result, campaign finance is less transparent.

        It is more common to use the local municipalities' budget in support of a candidate, as these resources are easier to obtain and the oversight is weaker in this case. These were also documented in the cases cited in question 6, as the Supreme Court decided against the municipalities in several cases. For example in the first cited case the mayor advertised himself in the local newspaper by stating the results achieved as a mayor, but financed it from the municipality's budget. Beside financial resources there is also the case of ordering employees at the local institutions to participate in campaign activities.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please describe the applicability of national political finance regulations at the sub-national level, being sure to answer: 1) whether national laws are applicable to sub-national campaigns; 2) if not, to what extent do sub-national units have similar laws regulating political finance; and 3) whether there are any reports of problems arising from gaps in this framework.

        Sources

        [Interview] -- Róbert Laszló, Election Expert, Political Capital, Budapest 06/08/2014, via phone

        [Other] -- 2013. évi XXXVI. törvény a választási eljárásról [Act XXXVI of 2013 on Electoral Procedure] Available online at: http://net.jogtar.hu/jr/gen/hjegydoc.cgi?docid=A1300036.TV (English version: http://valasztas.hu/en/ovi/241/2411_10.html ]

        -- Presentation of Miklos Ligeti (legal director, TI Hungary) on the joint press conferece of TI Hungary, K-Monitor and Atlatszo.hu on corruption at the national elections in 2014 on 17-3-2014 . http://www.transparency.hu/uploads/docs/ligeti_mikloseloadasa_honlapra.pdf

        Reviewer's sources: [Supreme Court decisions] --Kúria Kvk.IV.37.359/2014/2. számú határozat. [Decision Kvk.IV.37.359/2014/2. of the Curia of Hungary (Supreme Court)] Available at: http://www.lb.hu/hu/valhat/kvkiv3735920142-szamu-hatarozat states that it was against the law to advertise in the local newspaper one of the candidate's and the municipality's results.

        --Kúria Kvk.II.37.395/2014/2. számú határozat [Decision Kvk.II.37.395/2014/2. számú határozat of the Curia of Hungary (Supreme Court)] Available at: http://www.lb.hu/hu/valhat/kvkii3739520142-szamu-hatarozat states that it was against the law that on of the candidates (who was also the mayor) participated in distributing in kind-donations in a kindergarten.

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        Open Question: What are the predominant sources of funding for electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        According to official financial reports and statements, the preponderance of campaign funding comes from public disbursement of the state budget, although monitoring campaign spending of the parties (and individual candidates) by NGOs indicated that parties might use further sources for campaign financing. These sources could stem either from the other legal incomes of the parties, eg. loans or from donations of unexplained origin. These could be both illegal cash or in kind donations.

        Interviews with party representatives of DK and Egyutt highlighted that there is a significant gap between the funding possibilities between governing and opposition parties (and also between the ones below and above the parliamentary threshold).

        Every party and individual candidate - after collecting the prescribed amount of recommendations - is entitled to state subsidy for electoral campaign [see the answers earlier], but the newly created ones cannot exploit the financial advances granted for parties that were or still are represented in the Parliament or at least obtained 1 % of the ballots during the former elections. These parties are entitled to state aid for general operations, which can be reallocated for campaign spendings as well. If the party can form a floor group in the Parliament, that entails further state aid. That means on the whole, that parties represented in the Parliament can separately accumulate and use operational subsidies for electoral campaign spendings as well.

        Beside that the governing parties had further advantage in the recent electoral campaign in the field of political advertising, using public funds for financing so called community facility advertisements [for further details see answer 8].

        Another component of campaign sources are donations. According to the regulations parties are not authorized to accept any financial contribution from legal persons, unincorporated business associations, foreign states or organisations. Donations of natural persons with Hungarian citizenship comprise the most significant portion of party income (after state aid), but represent only a very small part (1-6%) of the incomes.

        Micro-donations occur but the bottleneck of the system is developing an adequate banking interface, and there are restrictions on handling the personal data of the contributors, which makes the process relatively ponderous.

        Parties are also allowed to found single-member private limited-liability companies and under restricted circumstances they can exercise business activities, the profit of which could contribute to campaign spending as well. Moreover party foundations might play a role in supporting the campaign (see third party actors) but this would not appear in their reports.

        The exact proportion of all income sources of the parties, can not be stated, because parties and individual candidates do not have to publish detailed, itemized financial reports on their operation, and the State Audit Office (SAO) conducts only formal investigations.

        Individual candidates usually do not have to self finance, but our interviewee Szigetvári pointed out that their candidates had to lean on their own resources in the pre-election campaign period.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please describe the important sources of funding for electoral campaigns, being sure to answer: 1) where does the preponderance of funding come from - public, individual, corporate, or other; 2) to what extent do individual candidates self-finance; and 3) do political parties have other methods of generating campaign funds, such as owning their own businesses or trusts.

        Sources

        [Interview] -- Róbert László, election specialist, Political Capital, Budapest 05/08/2014. via phone. -- László Sebian-Petrovski, Chief Operating Officer of DK, Budapest. 27/07/2014. via email -- Viktor Szigetvári, Managing Co-Chair of Együtt 2014, Budapest. 26/07/2014. via email -- Miklós Ligeti, legal director, Transparency International Hungary, Budapest, 08/08/2014. via phone

        [Other] -- Reports on election campaign spendings in the Official Journal Available online http://magyarkozlony.hu/hivatalos-lapok/b5008061a77cbfc4c912e1474045e6f1831c585e/dokumentumok/4453c8bf198bdf97d2d5df10867cfc9c78535245/letoltes and www.kozlonyok.hu/kozlonyok/Kozlonyok/12/PDF/2014/29.pdf 1) A Fidesz – Magyar Polgári Szövetség és a Kereszténydemokrata Néppárt beszámolója az országgy?lési képvisel?k 2014. évi általános választására fordított állami és más pénzeszközök, anyagi támogatások összegér?l, forrásáról és felhasználásának módjáról: page 3758 [Report of Fidesz - Hungarian Civic Alliance and Christian Democratic People's Party on the Amount, Source and Use of Public and Other Funds, Financial Support Spent by Members of Parliament on the 2014 General Elections] 2) A Magyar Szocialista Párt beszámolója az országgy?lési képvisel?k 2014. évi általános választására fordított állami és más pénzeszközök, anyagi támogatások összegér?l, forrásáról és felhasználásának módjáról: page 3836 [Report of the Hungarian Socialist Party on the Amount, Source and Use of Public and Other Funds, Financial Support Spent by Members of Parliament on the 2014 General Elections] 3) A Lehet Más a Politika beszámolója az országgy?lési képvisel?k 2014. évi általános választására fordított állami és más pénzeszközök, anyagi támogatások összegér?l: page 3834 [Report of the Politics Can Be Different Party on the Amount, Source and Use of Public and Other Funds, Financial Support Spent by Members of Parliament on the 2014 General Elections]

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        Open Question: Have there been documented instances of violations of contribution or expenditure limits or any of the laws mentioned above (Section 2)?More about indicator

        There are no official reports of breaching contribution rules yet, since the State Audit Office has not finished the examination of the party reports. Only the case where the Government handed over their propaganda slogan can be considered as an official evidence. As mentioned earlier Fidesz has paid 400.000 HUF (1725 USD) to the Government for the use of the Government’s slogan and design elements which originally cost the Government 150 million HUF (646.000 USD) – which should count for a significant in-kind donation from the Government in favour of a party.

        The same applies for local governments as well – media reported several cases where identity elements of the self-advertisements of the local government were hardly distinguishable from that of the supported party’s (Fidesz). Also public media had a strong role in supporting the government party by spreading government propaganda and providing more air time to government politicians and officials in news programmes. AnNGO close to the governing party spent considerable amounts of money campaigning against opposition parties (details at question 37). This is a clear circumvention of the law that doesn’t regulate the operation of third party actors in the campaign.

        Transparency International, K-Monitor Association and Atlatszo.hu conducted a joint research project (called ‘Képmutatás’ - Hypocrisy) to estimate the real costs of the campaign. According to their assessment almost all parties in the parliament exceeded the official spending limit. Moreover the reports of smaller parties show that they have spent much less on the campaign than reported, NGOs and parliamentary parties assume that many of these formations embezzled campaign funds or created fake receipts or invoices of highly overpriced services. NGOs also turned to the Stated Audit Office, that refused to investigate the suspicion of breaching spending limits but decided to investigate the reports of fake parties after pressure from both opposition and government politicians.

        According to news reports the treasury found irregularities in the reports of 196 candidates. This is a third of all 598 candidates who did not assign their individual 1 million HUF[4355 USD] support to their parties.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please list and describe all documented instances of: 1) violation of contribution limits, 2) violation of expenditure limits, and 3) financial contributions that circumvent the regulatory framework. The objective of this question is to learn more about the local context, so please explain the cases in as much detail as relevant.

        Sources

        [Interview] -- Miklós Ligeti, legal director, Transparency International Hungary, Budapest, 18/07/2014. via email. -- Dániel G. Szabó, journalist, Index.hu Zrt., Budapest 21/07/2014., via email.

        [News] 3,5 milliárddal nyúltak túl a pártok a kampánytakarón [Parties spent 3.5 billions more than allowed], Index, 28/04/2014. available at: http://index.hu/belfold/2014/04/28/35milliarddalnyujtozkodtaktulapartokakampanytakaron/ Hihetetlen dolgokra költötték az állami pénzt a kamupártok [Fake parties spend state funds on unbelievable things],Szabolcs Panyi, Index, 06/06/2014. available at http://index.hu/belfold/2014/06/06/kamupartok/

        [Other] -- Reports on election campaign spending in the Official Journal Available online http://magyarkozlony.hu/hivatalos-lapok/b5008061a77cbfc4c912e1474045e6f1831c585e/dokumentumok/4453c8bf198bdf97d2d5df10867cfc9c78535245/letoltes and www.kozlonyok.hu/kozlonyok/Kozlonyok/12/PDF/2014/29.pdf

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    Reporting and Public Disclosure

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      Reporting Requirements to the Oversight Entity
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        NO
        In law, political parties and individual candidates report itemized contributions and expenditures both during and outside electoral campaign periods.More about indicator

        Candidates and parties have to submit a draft overall financial statement (about the campaign contributions and expenditures) 60 days after the general elections. A more detailed, itemized account shall be submitted to the Treasury by the candidates and parties about the expenditures realized from the state campaign support. Itemized reporting on non-state funding is not required. Only parties are required to submit reports outside of the electoral campaign period.

        Act LXXXVII of 2013 on the Transparency of Campaign Costs related to the Election of the Members of the Parliament states:

        "Section 9 (1) All candidates and nominating organisations shall publish in the Official Gazette of Hungary the amount, source and use of state and other funds spent on the election within 60 days after the election of the Members of the Parliament. Section 8 (1) If a candidate signs an agreement with the Treasury according to Section 2, they shall submit a financial statement to the Treasury within 15 days after the individual results of the election of the Members of the Parliament in the relevant single mandate constituency have become effective, and attach to the statement the copies of all accounting documents concerning the use of the amount of support according to Section 1. Section 8/A (1) A party setting up a party list shall submit an aggregated financial statement to the Treasury on all support according to Section 1 to be used by it and disbursed to it according to Section 2/A within 15 days after the list results of the election of the Members of the Parliament in the relevant single mandate constituency have become effective, and attach to the statement the copies of all associated accounting documents.

        Note that in Hungarian legal context ‘candidate’ is only meaningful in relation to elections and campaign periods, that is why activities and financial operations of candidates has little relevance outside campaign periods. (Moreover, as emphasised before, political campaigns are rather funded, organized and budgeted by the parties.) Parties have to submit a report on their financial situation annually. (Note that the sample has a Revenues and an Expenditures column.) (Note that this is a public report, and oversight authorities otherwise audit subsidized parties every two years and they have access to all kinds of documents.)"

        By Act XXXIII of 1989 on the Operation and Financial Management of Political Parties:

        1. § (1) The political parties are obliged to publish in the Hungarian Bulletin a report on their financial management of the previous year till May 31 of each year, according to the sample that is defined in Appendix 1 of present act.
        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where political parties and individual candidates are required to report itemized contributions and expenditures to the oversight authority, both during and outside electoral campaign periods.

        A MODERATE score is earned where: 1) the requirement applies for itemized contributions, but not for itemized expenditures, or 2) it applies only during the electoral campaign but not outside it. A MODERATE score is also earned where the requirement exists, but it only applies to one actor (whether political parties and individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources
        1. évi LXXXVII. törvény az országgy?lési képvisel?k választása kampányköltségeinek átláthatóvá tételér?l [Act LXXXVII of 2013 on the Transparency of Campaign Costs related to the Election of the Members of the Parliament] Available online at: http://njt.hu/cgibin/njtdoc.cgi?docid=161284.243512 (English version: http://valasztas.hu/en/ovi/241/241112.html ] Section 9, 8, 8/A In effect from 1/1/2014.)

        2. évi XXXIII. törvény a pártok m?ködésér?l és gazdálkodásáról. [Act XXXIII of 1989 on the Operation and Financial Management of Political Parties] Available online at: http://njt.hu/cgibin/njtdoc.cgi?docid=11014.262767 An English translation is available at http://www.partylaw.leidenuniv.nl/party-law/4dd27714-1b94-4e59-a9b1-089884e5412d.pdf , however, it does not contain the latest amendments.] Section 9., Appendix 1.

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        MODERATE
        In law, political parties and individual candidates are required to report their financial information on a monthly basis during the electoral campaign.More about indicator

        According to regulations the election campaign is 50 days long, and – in case of parliamentary elections – candidates and parties have to report only once (after the elections). There are no reporting obligations on other (EU parliamentary or local) elections.

        From Act XXXVI of 2013 on Electoral Procedure: Section 139 - The election campaign period shall last from the 50th day before the voting until the end of voting on the voting day.

        From Act LXXXVII of 2013 on the Transparency of Campaign Costs related to the Election of the Members of the Parliament: Section 9 - (1) All candidates and nominating organisations shall publish in the Official Gazette of Hungary the amount, source and use of state and other funds spent on the election within 60 days after the election of the Members of the Parliament. Section 8 - (1) If a candidate signs an agreement with the Treasury according to Section 2, they shall submit a financial statement to the Treasury within 15 days after the individual results of the election of the Members of the Parliament in the relevant single mandate constituency have become effective, and attach to the statement the copies of all accounting documents concerning the use of the amount of support according to Section 1. Section 8/A - (1) A party setting up a party list shall submit an aggregated financial statement to the Treasury on all support according to Section 1 to be used by it and disbursed to it according to Section 2/A within 15 days after the list results of the election of the Members of the Parliament in the relevant single mandate constituency have become effective, and attach to the statement the copies of all associated accounting documents.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where political parties and individual candidates must report monthly their financial information to the oversight authority during the electoral campaign.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the requirement exists on a quarterly basis. A MODERATE score is also earned where the requirement only applies to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources
        1. évi LXXXVII. törvény az országgy?lési képvisel?k választása kampányköltségeinek átláthatóvá tételér?l [Act LXXXVII of 2013 on the Transparency of Campaign Costs related to the Election of the Members of the Parliament ] Available online at: http://njt.hu/cgibin/njtdoc.cgi?docid=161284.243512 (English version: http://valasztas.hu/en/ovi/241/241112.html ] Section 9, 8, 8/A In effect from 1/1/2014.)

        2. évi XXXVI. törvény a választási eljárásról [Act XXXVI of 2013 on Electoral Procedure] Available online at: http://net.jogtar.hu/jr/gen/hjegydoc.cgi?docid=A1300036.TV(English version: http://valasztas.hu/en/ovi/241/2411_10.html ] Section 139.

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        MODERATE
        In law, political parties and individual candidates are required to report their financial information on a quarterly basis outside of electoral campaign periods.More about indicator

        Note that in Hungarian legal context ‘candidate’ is only meaningful in relation to elections and campaign periods, that is why activities and financial operations of candidates has little relevance outside campaign periods. (Moreover, as emphasised before, political campaigns are rather funded, organized and budgeted by the parties.) Parties have to submit a report on their financial situation annually. This is a public report. (Oversight authorities otherwise audit subsidized parties every two years and they have access to all kinds of documents.)

        From Act XXXIII of 1989 on the Operation and Financial Management of Political Parties: 9. § (1) The political parties are obliged to publish in the Hungarian Bulletin a report on their financial management of the previous year till May 31 of each year, according to the sample that is defined in Appendix 1 of present act.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where political parties and individual candidates must report quarterly their financial information to the oversight authority outside of electoral campaign periods.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the requirement exists on a yearly basis. A MODERATE score is also earned where the requirement only applies to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources
        1. évi XXXIII. törvény a pártok m?ködésér?l és gazdálkodásáról. [Act XXXIII of 1989 on the Operation and Financial Management of Political Parties] Available online at: http://njt.hu/cgibin/njtdoc.cgi?docid=11014.262767 An English translation is available at http://www.partylaw.leidenuniv.nl/party-law/4dd27714-1b94-4e59-a9b1-089884e5412d.pdf , however, it does not contain the latest amendments.]
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        0
        In practice, to what extent do political parties and individual candidates report itemized financial information monthly?More about indicator

        Some but not all parties have filed their post-election reports as required by law. For example, it was not possible to locate the report of Jólét és Szabadság Párt, and they should have published a report as received state support for their election campaign. Further, the level of detail varies heavily among filed reports. Some reports mention only the amount of state support received by the party for the election campaign, while others state contributions and expenditure in more detail. Full itemization is rare, and reports are often general. Indeed, expenditures almost never appear in the report in itemized form.

        Some (opposition) parties (eg. DK, Együtt 2014) voluntarily publish their financial reports more frequently and more detailed (either their quarterly balance sheet, or their campaign account summary) however, for some reason, they rarely communicate the name of their contractors.

        Note that the phenomenon ‘candidate’ is only meaningful in the Hungarian context in campaign periods, and individual candidates publish their financial statement only once, after the elections. Regarding campaign costs, the same applies for parties as well. As there is no standard format of the report, the extent of itemization varies greatly.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) political parties and individual candidates report on their financial information monthly, and 2) the reports include both itemized contributions and itemized expenditures.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) the reports are occasionally general rather than itemized or don't contain all accounts, or 2) the reporting frequency is quarterly.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) political parties and individual candidates rarely or never file reports, 2) the reports are filed but are rarely or never itemized or refer only to either contributions or expenditures, or 3) the reporting frequency is less than quarterly.

        Sources

        [Interview] -- Miklós Ligeti, legal director, Transparency International Hungary, Budapest, 18/07/2014. via email. -- Laszló Sebián-Petrovszki, party director at Demokratikus Koalicio, Budapest 26/07/2014. via email. -- Viktor Szigetvári, co-chair, Együtt 2014, Budapest, 26/07/2014. via email.

        [News] -- Tizenkett?b?l csak 3 pártnak sikerült elfogadható elszámolást beadnia [Only tree out of twelve parties managed to hand in acceptable reports] /Dorottya Somogyi / VS.hu / 18 June 2014. http://vs.hu/tizenkettobol-csak-3-partnak-sikerult-elfogadhato-elszamolast-beadni-0618

        [Other] -- Reports on election campaign spendings in the Official Journal Available online : 1) A Fidesz – Magyar Polgári Szövetség és a Kereszténydemokrata Néppárt beszámolója az országgy?lési képvisel?k 2014. évi általános választására fordított állami és más pénzeszközök, anyagi támogatások összegér?l, forrásáról és felhasználásának módjáról: page 3758 [Report of Fidesz - Hungarian Civic Alliance and Christian Democratic People's Party on the Amount, Source and Use of Public and Other Funds, Financial Support Spent by Members of Parliament on the 2014 General Elections] URL: http://magyarkozlony.hu/hivatalos-lapok/b5008061a77cbfc4c912e1474045e6f1831c585e/dokumentumok/4453c8bf198bdf97d2d5df10867cfc9c78535245/letoltes 2) A Magyar Szocialista Párt beszámolója az országgy?lési képvisel?k 2014. évi általános választására fordított állami és más pénzeszközök, anyagi támogatások összegér?l, forrásáról és felhasználásának módjáról: page 3836 [Report of the Hungarian Socialist Party on the Amount, Source and Use of Public and Other Funds, Financial Support Spent by Members of Parliament on the 2014 General Elections] 3) A Lehet Más a Politika beszámolója az országgy?lési képvisel?k 2014. évi általános választására fordított állami és más pénzeszközök, anyagi támogatások összegér?l: page 3834 [Report of the Politics Can Be Different Party on the Amount, Source and Use of Public and Other Funds, Financial Support Spent by Members of Parliament on the 2014 General Elections] URL: http://www.kozlonyok.hu/kozlonyok/Kozlonyok/12/PDF/2014/29.pdf 4) Az Összefogás Párt beszámolója az országgy?lési képvisel?k 2014. évi általános választására fordított állami és más pénzeszközök, anyagi támogatások összegér?l, forrásáról és felhasználásának módjáról: page 4204 [Report of the Alliance Party on the Amount, Source and Use of Public and Other Funds, Financial Support Spent by Members of Parliament on the 2014 General Elections] URL: http://www.magyarkozlony.hu/dokumentumok/e96f0eae354d8219b60ec99ff363b1fbe821d9ee/megtekintes 5) Az Együtt - a Korszakváltók Pártja 2014. évi országgy?lési képvisel?-választási pénzügyi elszámolása, [Financial statement of the Together Party on the national elections of 2014] on page 4010 URL: http://www.magyarkozlony.hu/dokumentumok/c2e03db97be78c81663065b8b35f887ba28ae39e/megtekintes

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        25
        In practice, to what extent do financial reports by political parties and individual candidates include all types of contributions?More about indicator

        Beyond electoral campaign periods parties have to submit a report on their overall financial management (annually). It does not contain detailed and itemized list of all contributions, only figures on membership fees, the subsidy granted from the central budget, donations of legal and natural persons (listing the name of the donors with contributions over 500 000 HUF [2150 USD]), the profit of business activities and “other incomes” - following mostly the wording of the act on operation and financial management of political parties. [to be noted: State Audit Office (SAO) conducts formal investigations related to financial data provided almost on a voluntary basis]

        Within 60 days after the end of the campaign period parties have to submit a similar report on their campaign contributions and spending that is published in the Annex of the Official Journal (Official Gazette). These reports contain only the amount of income from the state budget (state subsidy for electoral campaign spending), from donations for electoral campaign purposes, from loans given to the parties and from “other” sources. The SAO has one year to examine the reports and publish its conclusions. Some parties publish more detailed reports on their webpages on a voluntary basis but it is not verifiable whether these comply with their real incomes and expenditures

        Individual candidates also have to submit a report on their campaign contributions and expenditures that is published in the Annex of the Official Journal, but because most candidates' campaigns are organized, coordinated and financially managed by their parties, and candidates might also offer their state contributions for their parties, they do not necessarily publish reports on their individual campaign spending and income. Reports to the treasury contain an itemized expenditure list, since the 1 million Forint [USD 4355] state support is wired to the campaign account of the candidate, which is not public.

        In-kind or cash donations are not listed.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. The reports related to election campaign do not have a standardised format, and very minimal reports were published. An example would be the report of Összefogás Párt. The party's report only stated that it received 298,5 million HUF as state support, and that it spent that money according to the requirements of the act. This type of report does not give any information about the expenditures or additional contributions, but also satisfies the requirements.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) reports include an itemized list of all contributions indicating their type (in-kind, cash where allowed, etc.) and amount (estimated value for in-kind contributions), and 2) contain donors' names and addresses (or other personal identifier).

        A 50 score is earned where only one of the two conditions listed in the 100 criteria is met.

        A 0 score is earned where neither condition is met.

        Sources

        [Interviews] -- Miklós Ligeti, legal director, Transparency International Hungary, Budapest, 18/07/2014. via email. -- László Sebián-Petrovszki, Chief Operating Officer of DK, Budapest. 27/07/2014. via email -- Viktor Szigetvári, Managing Co-Chair of Együtt 2014, Budapest. 26/07/2014. via email

        [Other] -- Reports on election campaign spendings in the Annex of the Official Journal Available online http://www.kozlonyok.hu/kozlonyok/Kozlonyok/12/PDF/2014/28.pdf and www.kozlonyok.hu/kozlonyok/Kozlonyok/12/PDF/2014/29.pdf and http://www.kozlonyok.hu/kozlonyok/Kozlonyok/12/PDF/2014/30.pdf 1) A Fidesz – Magyar Polgári Szövetség és a Kereszténydemokrata Néppárt beszámolója az országgy?lési képvisel?k 2014. évi általános választására fordított állami és más pénzeszközök, anyagi támogatások összegér?l, forrásáról és felhasználásának módjáról: page 3758 [Report of Fidesz - Hungarian Civic Alliance and Christian Democratic People's Party on the Amount, Source and Use of Public and Other Funds, Financial Support Spent by Members of Parliament on the 2014 General Elections] 2) A Magyar Szocialista Párt beszámolója az országgy?lési képvisel?k 2014. évi általános választására fordított állami és más pénzeszközök, anyagi támogatások összegér?l, forrásáról és felhasználásának módjáról: page 3836 [Report of the Hungarian Socialist Party on the Amount, Source and Use of Public and Other Funds, Financial Support Spent by Members of Parliament on the 2014 General Elections] 3) A Lehet Más a Politika beszámolója az országgy?lési képvisel?k 2014. évi általános választására fordított állami és más pénzeszközök, anyagi támogatások összegér?l: page 3834 [Report of the Politics Can Be Different Party on the Amount, Source and Use of Public and Other Funds, Financial Support Spent by Members of Parliament on the 2014 General Elections] 4) reports of individual candidates on election campaign spendings -- MSZP pénzügyi beszámolója 2013 [Annual financial report 2013 of MSZP - Hungarian Socialist Party] available at: http://mszp.hu/sites/default/files/2013.evizaropenzugyibeszamolo.pdf -- Itemized reports on the webpage of the DK - Democratic Coalition. available at: http://uvegzseb.dkp.hu/index.html

        Reviewer's sources: Az Összefogás Párt beszámolója az országgy?lési képvisel?k 2014. évi általános választására fordított állami és más pénzeszközök, anyagi támogatások összegér?l, forrásáról és felhasználásának módjáról: page 4204 [Report of the Alliance Party on the Amount, Source and Use of Public and Other Funds, Financial Support Spent by Members of Parliament on the 2014 General Elections] URL: http://www.magyarkozlony.hu/dokumentumok/e96f0eae354d8219b60ec99ff363b1fbe821d9ee/megtekintes

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      Availability of Electoral Campaigns' Financial Information to the Public
      More about category
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        26
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        MODERATE
        In law, financial information from political parties and individual candidates must be available to the public.More about indicator

        Candidates and parties have to submit a draft overall financial statement (about the campaign contributions and expenditures) 60 days after the general elections. This statement is available in the Official Gazette of Hungary, which is published both online and in print. Parties must also submit an annual report.

        (Act LXXXVII of 2013 Section 9 (1) “All candidates and nominating organizations shall publish in the Official Gazette of Hungary the amount, source and use of state and other funds spent on the election within 60 days after the election of the Members of the Parliament.”)

        – A more detailed, itemized account shall be submitted to the Treasury by the candidates and parties about the expenditures realized from the state campaign support. ((Act LXXXVII of 2013 Section 8 (1), 8/A (1) : “If a candidate signs an agreement with the Treasury according to Section 2, they shall submit a financial statement to the Treasury within 15 days after the individual results of the election of the Members of the Parliament in the relevant single mandate constituency have become effective, and attach to the statement the copies of all accounting documents concerning the use of the amount of support according to Section 1.”, “A party setting up a party list shall submit an aggregated financial statement to the Treasury on all support according to Section 1 to be used by it and disbursed to it according to Section 2/A within 15 days after the list results of the election of the Members of the Parliament in the relevant single mandate constituency have become effective, and attach to the statement the copies of all associated accounting documents.” According to the Fundamental Law of Hungary* and the Act on the Right of Informational Self-Determination and on Freedom of Information**, these more detailed financial statements should be also public via public information requests, as they are related to public funds, but right now, it is contested in a court case.

        *Fundamental Law, Article 39 (2) “Public funds and national assets shall be managed according to the principles of transparency and the purity of public life. Data relating to public funds and national assets shall be data of public interest.”

        **Act on the Right of Informational Self-Determination and on Freedom of Information: Section 26(1) “Any person or body attending to statutory State or municipal government functions or performing other public duties provided for by the relevant legislation (hereinafter referred to collectively as “body with public service functions”) shall allow free access to the data of public interest and data public on grounds of public interest under its control to any person, save where otherwise provided for in this Act.” Section 28: “(1) Data of public interest shall be made available to anyone upon a request presented verbally, in writing or by electronic means. Access to data public on grounds of public interest shall be governed by the provisions of this Act pertaining to data of public interest.” Section 29 “(1) The body with public service functions that has the data of public interest on record must comply with requests for public information at the earliest opportunity within not more than fifteen days. (2) If a request for information is substantial in terms of size and volume, the time limit referred to in Subsection (1) may be extended by fifteen days on one occasion, of which the requesting party shall be informed within eight days of the date of receipt of the request.”

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where in law financial information of political parties and individual candidates must be made available to the public, whether online or digitally within two days of request.

        A MODERATE score is earned where financial information must be made available to the public, but no requirement exists regarding cost, format or number of days within which it must be made available.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        – 2013. évi LXXXVII. törvény az országgy?lési képvisel?k választása kampányköltségeinek átláthatóvá tételér?l [Act LXXXVII of 2013 on the Transparency of Campaign Costs related to the Election of the Members of the Parliament ] Available online at: http://njt.hu/cgibin/njtdoc.cgi?docid=161284.243512 (English version: http://valasztas.hu/en/ovi/241/241112.html ]; Section 9, 8, 8/A In effect from 1/1/2014.)

        – 1989. évi XXXIII. törvény a pártok m?ködésér?l és gazdálkodásáról. [Act XXXIII of 1989 on the Operation and Financial Management of Political Parties] Available online at: http://njt.hu/cgibin/njtdoc.cgi?docid=11014.262767 An English translation is available at http://www.partylaw.leidenuniv.nl/party-law/4dd27714-1b94-4e59-a9b1-089884e5412d.pdf , however, it does not contain the latest amendments. Section 9., Appendix 1.

        – Magyarország Alaptörvénye. [Fundamental Law of Hungary] Available online at: http://net.jogtar.hu/jr/gen/hjegy_doc.cgi?docid=A1100425.ATV An English translation is available at http://www.kormany.hu/download/e/02/00000/The%20New%20Fundamental%20Law%20of%20Hungary.pdf In effect from 2011. Section 39 (2)

        – 2011. évi CXII. törvény az információs önrendelkezési jogról és az információszabadságról [Act CXII of 2011 on the Right of Informational Self-Determination and on Freedom of Information.] Available online at: http://net.jogtar.hu/jr/gen/hjegydoc.cgi?docid=A1100112.TV An English translation is available at http://www.naih.hu/files/PrivacyAct-CXII-of-2011EN201310.pdf . In effect from 2012. Sections 26, 28, 29.

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        25
        In practice, to what extent can citizens easily access the financial information of all political parties and individual candidates?More about indicator

        Parties must report on their overall financial management (annually). These reports are published in the Official Gazette and on the parties' webpage (though the reports are very vague). Parties' overall financial management is audited by the State Audit Authority. They have access to all kinds of documents, but they cannot force parties to become more transparent and publish more detailed reports.

        Parties also report on their campaign donations and incomes 60 days after the elections, as do candidates. Most candidates' campaigns, however, are organized, coordinated and financially managed by their parties, and candidates might also offer their state contributions for their parties. Thus they do not necessarily publish reports on their individual campaign spending and income : indeed, they don't necessarily have individual campaign budget at all.

        These two reports don't have standardized format at all. The State Audit Office audits the use of campaign funds.

        In addition to the above: -- parties and candidates have to submit a very detailed, itemized account on the use of state campaign funding to the State Treasury. This account must be supported by copies of financial documents (such as invoices, receipts, bank accounts etc.) There is an ongoing legal dispute over whether these itemized accounts could be accessed by citizens via public data requests. (See previous indicator as well)

        Parties have to disclose general reports on their overall financial management and campaign spending related to general elections of MPs both on their websites and in the Annex of the Official Journal. Individual candidates should also publish a report on their campaign spendings, but most of the time their campaign budgets are managed by their parties, thus they are not obliged to publish one. These reports lack detail, and hardly reflect the complete financial management of parties or campaign spendings. These documents are generally available in pdf format on the website of the parties. The Official Journal is also available in the Internet in pdf format, however, there are no searching and filtering options, so access can be difficult for citizens.

        For more detailed information, citizens have lesser access as -- according to current judicial practice -- parties cannot be obliged to fulfil public data requests and share detailed financial reports. Interestingly enough, financial disclosure provisions are far less strict for parties than for almost any private or public legal organization (such as companies and other non-governmental organizations), who have to disclose their financial reports.

        Obtaining information -- particularly in case of public data requests -- can take up to several months. (The deadline for fulfilling public data requests is 30 days, judicial procedures may take up to months, according to the interviews cited above.)

        Parties and individuals are required to submit detailed reports to the State Treasury on their campaign spending, but these are only available through public data requests. Transparency International Hungary has submitted a request to gain access to the more detailed documents, which was declined by the oversight authority. There is an ongoing court case in this issue, first instance ruling is expected in Fall, 2014. (However, as there is no precedent law in Hungary, the judgement will not have a binding force for similar cases.)


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. It is important to emphasize again that none of the reports is available in a machine readable format: the Official Gazette only publishes them in pdf format, and on the webpages of the parties the reports are only available in pdf format.

        The availability of these documents is very concerning, as the election reports are officially published in the Appendix of the Official Gazette, but in a 60-day timeframe, so someone has to open all of them to collect all the published reports. It can be really burdensome as these appendices can be a few hundred pages long. The availability of the reports is also bad in the case of individual webpages. Some of the parties highlight their document section on the upper menu of the webpage, but others hide it near to the bottom, where it is hard to find.

        The recommended score is justified as the documents are published and available for free, but very hard to find.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) all relevant financial information is freely available online, 2) it can be obtained digitally within two days of requesting it, and 3) it is in a machine readable format (for example in csv or xml format).

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) information is available but in some cases is incomplete or lacking detail, 2) obtaining complete information takes up to a month, or 3) it's not necessarily digital or in machine readable format.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) the information is not publicly available, or 2) obtaining it takes more than three months, or 3) the cost of obtaining it is prohibitive for the regular citizen.

        Sources

        [Interview] -- Miklós Ligeti, legal director, Transparency International Hungary, Budapest, 18/07/2014. Via email. -- Dániel G. Szabó, journalist, Index.hu Zrt., Budapest 21/07/2014. Via email.

        [Other] -- Reports on election campaign spendings in the Official Journal Available online http://magyarkozlony.hu/hivatalos-lapok/b5008061a77cbfc4c912e1474045e6f1831c585e/dokumentumok/4453c8bf198bdf97d2d5df10867cfc9c78535245/letoltes and www.kozlonyok.hu/kozlonyok/Kozlonyok/12/PDF/2014/29.pdf 1) A Fidesz – Magyar Polgári Szövetség és a Kereszténydemokrata Néppárt beszámolója az országgy?lési képvisel?k 2014. évi általános választására fordított állami és más pénzeszközök, anyagi támogatások összegér?l, forrásáról és felhasználásának módjáról: page 3758 [Report of Fidesz - Hungarian Civic Alliance and Christian Democratic People's Party on the Amount, Source and Use of Public and Other Funds, Financial Support Spent by Members of Parliament on the 2014 General Elections] 2) A Magyar Szocialista Párt beszámolója az országgy?lési képvisel?k 2014. évi általános választására fordított állami és más pénzeszközök, anyagi támogatások összegér?l, forrásáról és felhasználásának módjáról: page 3836 [Report of the Hungarian Socialist Party on the Amount, Source and Use of Public and Other Funds, Financial Support Spent by Members of Parliament on the 2014 General Elections] 3) A Lehet Más a Politika beszámolója az országgy?lési képvisel?k 2014. évi általános választására fordított állami és más pénzeszközök, anyagi támogatások összegér?l: page 3834 [Report of the Politics Can Be Different Party on the Amount, Source and Use of Public and Other Funds, Financial Support Spent by Members of Parliament on the 2014 General Elections]

        --Reports on the monitoring of financial reports of parties published by the State Auditors Office -- secondary sources. -- JELENTÉS az LMP gazdálkodása - A Lehet Más a Politika 2011-2012. évi gazdálkodása törvényességének ellen?rzésér?l [Report on the Audit on the Legality of the Financial Management of the Politics Can Be Different Party in 2011-2012], January of 2014. Available online at: http://www.asz.hu/jelentes/14008/jelentes-az-lmp-gazdalkodasa-a-lehet-mas-a-politika-2011-2012-evi-gazdalkodasa-torvenyessegenek-ellenorzeserol/14008j000.pdf, -- JELENTÉS az MSZP gazdálkodása - A Magyar Szocialista Párt 2011-2012. évi gazdálkodása törvényességének ellen?rzésér?l [Report on the Audit on the Legality of the Financial Management of the Hungarian Socialist Party in 2011-2012], January of 2014. Available online at: http://www.asz.hu/jelentes/14003/jelentes-az-mszp-gazdalkodasa-a-magyar-szocialista-part-2011-2012-evi-gazdalkodasa-torvenyessegenek-ellenorzeserol/14003j000.pdf -- JELENTÉS a JOBBIK gazdálkodása - A Jobbik 2011-2012. évi gazdálkodása törvényességének ellen?rzésér?l [Report on the Audit on the Legality of the Financial Management of Jobbik in 2011-2012], January of 2014. Available online at: http://www.asz.hu/jelentes/14007/jelentes-a-jobbik-gazdalkodasa-a-jobbik-magyarorszagert-mozgalom-2011-2012-evi-gazdalkodasa-torvenyessegenek-ellenorzeserol/14007j000.pdf

        Reviewer's sources: For example see the campaign account of Együtt, 2014: http://www.egyutt2014.hu/azegyutt2014-rol_kampanyszamla.html

        The financial report on the election campaign of Fidesz, 2014: http://static.fidesz.hu/newsite/documents-file/rol/1401885572-a-fideszmpsz-es-a-kdnp-beszamoloja-az-orszaggyulesi-kepviselok-2014-evi-altalanos-valasztasra-forditott-allami-es-mas-penzeszkozok-anyagi-tamogatasok-osszegerol-forrasarol-es-felhasznalasarol.pdf

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        0
        In practice, to what extent is financial information published in a standardized format?More about indicator

        All reports submitted by parties and candidates lack an established, standardized format. Annual reports made by parties are notably vague in their level of detail, and the campaign reports published by both types of actors take a variety of formats depending on the party preparing them. See the reports included in the sources box for examples of the varying level of detail.

        Neither the rules on the financial management of parties, nor the ones governing the transparency of campaign funds prescribe a standardized form for the financial reports. Lack of strict regulation and weak oversight powers of the State Audit Office contribute to the vagueness and incomparability of these reports. However, general reports are published on the web and in general reflect in some elements the standardized form of the 'profit-and-loss statement' used by private sector companies.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where financial information for all political parties and individual candidates is available to the public in a standardized format.

        A 50 score is earned where only part of the information is published in a standardized format. A 50 score is also earned where the information is standardized, but it doesn't cover all political parties and individual candidates.

        A 0 score is earned where financial information is not available in a standardized format.

        Sources

        [Interviews] -- Miklós Ligeti, legal director, Transparency International Hungary, Budapest, 18/07/2014. via email. -- Dániel G. Szabó, journalist, Index.hu Zrt., Budapest, 21/07/2014. via email.

        [Other] -- Reports on election campaign spendings in the Official Journal Available online at: http://magyarkozlony.hu/hivatalos-lapok/b5008061a77cbfc4c912e1474045e6f1831c585e/dokumentumok/4453c8bf198bdf97d2d5df10867cfc9c78535245/letoltes and www.kozlonyok.hu/kozlonyok/Kozlonyok/12/PDF/2014/29.pdf 1) A Fidesz – Magyar Polgári Szövetség és a Kereszténydemokrata Néppárt beszámolója az országgy?lési képvisel?k 2014. évi általános választására fordított állami és más pénzeszközök, anyagi támogatások összegér?l, forrásáról és felhasználásának módjáról: page 3758 [Report of Fidesz - Hungarian Civic Alliance and Christian Democratic People's Party on the Amount, Source and Use of Public and Other Funds, Financial Support Spent by Members of Parliament on the 2014 General Elections] 2) A Magyar Szocialista Párt beszámolója az országgy?lési képvisel?k 2014. évi általános választására fordított állami és más pénzeszközök, anyagi támogatások összegér?l, forrásáról és felhasználásának módjáról: page 3836 [Report of the Hungarian Socialist Party on the Amount, Source and Use of Public and Other Funds, Financial Support Spent by Members of Parliament on the 2014 General Elections] 3) A Lehet Más a Politika beszámolója az országgy?lési képvisel?k 2014. évi általános választására fordított állami és más pénzeszközök, anyagi támogatások összegér?l: page 3834 [Report of the Politics Can Be Different Party on the Amount, Source and Use of Public and Other Funds, Financial Support Spent by Members of Parliament on the 2014 General Elections]

        -- Finance reports published on the websites of parties: (1) Politics can be different (LMP): available at: http://lehetmas.hu/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/LMP-2012-mod-beszamolo-20140621.pdf (2) Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP): available at: http://mszp.hu/sites/default/files/2013.evizaropenzugyibeszamolo.pdf

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        100
        In practice, to what extent do mainstream journalism media outlets use political finance data in their reporting?More about indicator

        Reports on both financial management of parties and electoral campaigns are widely referred to in mainstream media. However,the veracity of these official reports is questionable (see previous answers) : news articles frequently cite these reports to point out the hypocrisy of the current provisions on disclosure. Some parties (LMP) oblige themselves to disclose more data than requested by the law, but these data are also hardly verifiable.

        Mainstream journalists (e.g. Index: Súlyos hiányosságok az LMP könyvelésében -- reporting on the accounting failures of an opposition party) tend to use the monitoring reports of oversight authorities in order to draw public attention to the ineffectiveness of the existing monitoring system. But they also analyse reports of parties (eg. Index - Hihetetlen dolgokra költöttek az állami pénzt a kamupártok) to summarize what they spent their funding on and how they reported it. In case of the fake parties this led to an enourmous outcry in the media and politicians called for investigations.

        Journalists often submit public data requests themselves related to official financial reports (not only because of lack of information and completeness, but also to complete background checks). These data requests are often refused despite laws stipulating that they should be honored.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where at least three independent mainstream journalism media outlets have used officially published political party or individual candidate financial information as part of their reporting.

        A 50 score is earned where one independent mainstream journalism media outlet has used officially published financial information as part of its reporting.

        A 0 score is earned where no mainstream journalism media outlet has used officially published financial information as part of its reporting.

        Sources

        [Interview] -- Dániel G. Szabó, journalist, Index.hu Zrt., Budapest, 21/07/2014. via email -- Miklós Ligeti, legal director, Transparency International Hungary, Budapest, 18/07/2014. via email.

        [News articles] -- Hihetetlen dolgokra költötték az állami pénzt a kamupártok [Fake parties' incredible campaign spendings from public money] by Szabolcs Panyi, Index 2014. 06. 06. 17:38, available at: Index, http://index.hu/belfold/2014/06/06/kamupartok/ (newspaper article on campaign spendings) -- 1,1 milliárdos támogatást titkol el a kincstár [Financial support of 1.1 billion HUF concealed by Treasury] by Blikk.hu, Blikk. 2014. 06. 13. http://www.blikk.hu/blikkaktualis/11-milliardos-tamogatast-titkol-el-a-kincstar-2258537 -- Az MSZP-nél is többet költött az LMP a kampányra [LMP outdid MSZP in campaign spending] by MTI/hvg.hu, HVG., 2014. 06. 06. available at: http://hvg.hu/itthon/20140606AzMSZPnelistobbetkoltottazLMPaka -- Súlyos hiányosságok az LMP könyvelésében [Serious shortcomings in LMP's accounting ] by Index, Index, 2014. 01.09. available at: http://index.hu/belfold/2014/01/09/sulyoshianyossagokazlmpkonyveleseben/

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        25
        In practice, to what extent were there no news reports or other documented incidents of violation or abuse of political finance laws?More about indicator

        The electoral campaigns usually raise public awareness, and news articles focus on the violation or abuse of political finance laws. However, the general data on operating and managing of parties gain less attention and seem less newsworthy for both readers and journalists.

        There were several (but not with an unusual frequency) reports on violations of the electoral campaign rules, including the ones governing campaign spending for both the long-estabilished parties with MPs and the upcomer, newly created groups (called “fake parties”) with the aim of getting state aid for their electoral activity, but in reality trying to use the resources for other questionable purposes. Journals also deal with the monitoring activity of the oversight authority related to the spending of parties and try to raise attention to the ineffectiveness of formal and incomplete work.

        Investigative journalist have very little data at their disposal, so deep fact finding stories - even about violation of political finance rules - necessitate data requests, which - after usually a long period - are not honored. During the last election period, journalists tend to use the results of an initiative called kepmutatas.hu, which was the outcome of a coalition of 2 anti-corruption NGOs and an investigative journal to debunk untruthful reports and illicit campaign spendings and incomes.

        The media, however differs on the level of political independence, so there were news reports which only stated the published sum of campaign spendings of a party, whereas other newspapers implied the insufficiency of the data provided by the parties.

        Example: according to calculations, parties -- the governing party in particular -- have exceeded the 5 million HUF [21800 USD] per candidate spending threshold. In relation to this, apart from parties, pro-government NGOs and the government itself supported the re-election of the governing party. "Fake parties' were also established -- supposedly to get generous state donations.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where there were no news reports or other documented incidents of violation or abuse of political finance laws during the most recent national election.

        A 50 score is earned where there were news reports or other documented incidents of no more than two cases of violation or abuse of political finance laws during the most recent national election.

        A 0 score is earned where there were frequent news reports or other documented incidents of violation or abuse of political finance laws during the most recent national election.

        Sources

        [News articles] - on campaign spendings -- A törvényes összeg dupláját költötte kampányra a Fidesz [Fidesz spent twice the amount allowed on campaign] by hvg.hu, HVG. 2014.03. 17. avaliable at: http://hvg.hu/itthon/20140317Ketszeresentullepte_a

        -- Csak plakátra többet költött a Fidesz, mint lehetett volna [Fidesz spent more than the allowed campaign financing limit on the billboards alone] by hvg.hu, HVG. 2014. 04. 28. available at: http://hvg.hu/itthon/20140428kepmutataskampany_koltsegek

        -- Hihetetlen dolgokra költötték az állami pénzt a kamupártok [Fake parties' incredible campaign spendings from public money] by Panyi Szabolcs, Index. 2014. 06. 06. available at: http://index.hu/belfold/2014/06/06/kamupartok/

        -- Szabolcs Dull: Szépen leleplezték magukat a kamupártok, 10/09/2014, Index.hu [Fake parties uncovered]; URL: http://index.hu/belfold/2014/09/10/eltuntekakamupartokazonkormanyzati_valasztasokra/

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        100
        In practice, to what extent were there no news reports or other documented incidents of vote-buying?More about indicator

        There were no explicit reports on vote-buying incidents. In some cases, local governments granted in-kind allowances for certain electoral groups (e.g. the mayor of the 5th district in Budapest, who was also an MP-candidate distributed ham-vouchers for retired people in the electoral campaign period), but these instances rather count as unfair advertising than vote-buying.

        Our journalist interviewee had no knowledge on vote-buying stories reported in the press either, although he heard about such practices from informants. A hotline by the Socialist Party (MSZP) registered cases of votebuying but without publicly reporting anything concrete. The National Election Office has no central register for reported violatons of the election rules.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. There were incidents that officially were not deemed as vote-buying but vey reminiscent of them. For example in the first example the candidate appeared on an advertisement for food and clothes donation, but the oversight authority did not deem it as vote-buying, thus there was no official sanction. The law itself does not prohibit explicitly giving financial or material advantages, they can only be derived from the principles of the law like "bona fide and designated use of rights".

        The Supreme Court decision on giving in-kind donations in a kindergarten was also not a strict vote-buying, as the decision was based on political activity in educational institution, that is prohibited by the act governing the educational system.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where there were no news reports or other documented incidents of vote-buying during the most recent national election.

        A 50 score is earned where there were news reports or other documented incidents of no more than two cases of vote-buying during the most recent national election.

        A 0 score is earned where there were frequent news reports or other documented incidents of vote-buying during the most recent national election.

        Sources

        [Interview] -- Dániel G. Szabó, journalist, Index, Budapest, 18/07/2014. via email. -- András Becker, journalist, atlatszo.hu, Budapest, 04/08/2014. via email.

        [News] --190 panasz érkezett az MSZP-hez [MSZP received 190 complaints], József Spirk, Index.hu, 16/04/2014, http://index.hu/belfold/2014/04/06/190panaszerkezettazmszp-hez/

        [Other] --valasztas.hu webpage of the National Election Office

        Reviewer's sources: Somogyi Dorottya: 50 ezres bírság az oviban almát osztó fideszesnek, Vs.hu, 01/04/2014 [Fidesz-candidate got fined 50 thousand HUF for distributing apples in kindergarten]; URL: http://vs.hu/50-ezerre-buntettek-fideszes-jeloltet-0401

        [Supreme Court decision] Kúria Kvk.II.37.395/2014/2. számú határozat [Decision Kvk.II.37.395/2014/2. számú határozat of the Curia of Hungary (Supreme Court)] Available at: http://www.lb.hu/hu/valhat/kvkii3739520142-szamu-hatarozat states that it was against the law that on of the candidates (who was also the mayor) participated in distributing in kind-donations in a kindergarten.

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        100
        In practice, to what extent do civil society organizations use political finance data?More about indicator

        As party and campaign financing are regarded as core corruption problems in Hungary, most anti-corruption NGOs have a long history of using officially published financial information. The extensive use of official data in advocacy campaigns aims less to point out ineffective public spending, but rather to demonstrate how untruthful these reports are.

        For the 2014 general elections Transparency International Hungary and K-Monitor Association, two long-established anti-corruption NGOs together with Átlátszó.hu, an investigative journal, formed a coalition to debunk untruthful reports and illicit campaign spending and income, and undertook a major campaign. They have created a solid database of campaign tools (kepmutatas.hu) used by each party, and have estimated their real costs based on a reliable methodology and compared them to the costs indicated in the official reports -- the difference was huge. They used these results in their advocacy work (ezaminimum.hu) for better party financing regulations and more effective oversight of campaign funds. The project was supported by more than 20 CSOs.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where at least three civil society organizations have used officially published political party or individual candidate financial information as part of their advocacy or awareness work.

        A 50 score is earned where one civil society organization has used officially published financial information as part of its advocacy or awareness work.

        A 0 score is earned where no civil society organization has used officially published financial information as part of its work.

        Sources

        [Interview] -- Miklós Ligeti, legal director, Transparency International Hungary, 18/07/2014, Budapest, via email -- Orsolya Vincze, project manager, K-Monitor, 18/07/2014, Budapest, via email.

        [News] -- Magyarország tényleg jobban teljesít [Hungary really performs better] by Nora Fehér, HVG. 17/03/2014., available at: http://hvg.hu/itthon/20140317Magyarorszagtanylegjobbanteljesit

        [Other] -- websites created by Kepmutatas.hu, database on campaign spending monitored by NGOs ezaminimum.hu, a campaigning platform with 6 causes to repel corruption. One of the causes is the reform of party and campaign financing, and it formulates concrete action proposals as well.

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        --
        Open Question: Have there been political finance legal reforms or reform bills presented to the legislature in the last 10 years?More about indicator

        The system of financing political parties and campaigns in Hungary was shaped by the lack of transparency and integrity for the last 25 years. The roots of this corrupt system were laid in the transition period after 1989 when loose regulation allowed newly founded parties toforge close links to business interests. Parties in power helped business groups in establishing economic power through privatization, state aid and procurements and business groups supported in return these parties in their operation and campaigns.

        Several reports and anti-corruption experts referred to party financing as the major source of corruption in the country. Act XXXIII of 1989 only regulated the general operating and managing of political parties, but election campaign costs and spending remained an area of loopholes and gaps in the regulation. In the last 10 years political parties and especially civil society introduced reform guidelines and bills to reform the system of party financing, but none of them led to real integrity and transparency.

        The most often discussed and proposed issues were the following: --Raising the amount of state funding of political parties in general, and securing a fixed sum of state support for electoral campaigns of individual candidates and political parties as well, at the same time shortening the campaign period. --Creating a realistic but strict campaign spending limit, and introducing „campaign accounts”, which could have been the basis of controlled spending during electoral campaign periods -- Strengthening the investigative capacities of the State Audit Office (SAO), endowing it with powers to exercise control beyond formal investigations and to impose sanctions against violations of the campaign finance rules.

        Bill T/237. (2006) focused on increasing the transparency of campaign spending, raising the legal incomes of parties, prohibiting parties to accept and use funds from unidentified sources and anonymous corporate contributors. The bill also contained the empowerment of the SAO to impose more severe sanctions against offenders. Since government and opposition could not agree on the Bill it was not passed, but with some amendments the Bill was reintroduced in October 2007 (T/4119 and T/4190) by socialist MPs again, while MPs of the right wing Fidesz party submitted another Bill (T/4394) focusing only on campaign financing. Eötvös Károly Institute and Néz?pont Institute made efforts to combine elements of these Bills in a joint Bill that could be accepted by all parties but the negotiations failed.

        TI Hungary and Freedom House also pushed towards all-party negotiations in 2009 supporting similar steps for a new system but Fidesz withdrew its support the final phase of the negotiations. According to our expert, Fidesz as an opposition party had no interest in more transparent regulations at that time while business groups and chambers of commerce didn't support the reform because they were afraid of losing public contracts.

        Comprehensive reform papers were also introduced by TI Hungary and Eötvös Károly Institute in 2012. Moreover political parties signed a letter of intent to reform the party and campaign finance system, but no efforts were made from the governing Fidesz party that year, although it received a super majority in the 2010 elections. Finally, less than a year before the 2014 elections, amendments were made to the system, but without an all-party agreement and with regulations that served the political interests of the governing party. Regulations on the poitical campaign in the press were placed in the fifth amendment of the Constitution September that year. These regulations with some amendments were applied to the 2014 elections.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please list and describe all documented instances of: 1) political finance reforms, including bills passed, executive orders signed, court rulings and any other legal act that had a direct effect on existent political finance regulation, and 2) all legal reform attempts presented to the legislature even if they were not approved. Please describe the political context that produced the reforms or reform attempts.

        Sources

        [Interview] -- Noémi Alexa, former director of TI Hungary, Budapest, 05/08/2014. via email. -- Orsolya Vincze, project manager, K-Monitor, 18/07/2014, Budapest, via email. -- Róbert László, election specialist, Political Capital, Budapest 05/08/2014. via phone.

        [News] Pártfinanszírozási kudarc [Pary finance failure], HVG, 02/12/2009. Available at: http://hvg.hu/itthon/20091202partfinanszirozashvg Megegyeztek a parlamenti pártok [Parties made an agreement], Bucsy Levente, Magyar Nemzet, 04/04/2012. Avalable at: http://mno.hu/belfold/megegyeztek-a-parlamenti-partok-1065925

        [Laws] -- T/237. sz. törvényjavaslat a pártok m?ködésér?l és gazdálkodásáról szóló 1989. évi XXXIII. törvény és a választási eljárásról szóló 1997. évi C. törvény valamint ezzel összefüggésben egyes más törvények módosításáról. 2006. június 13. [Bill T/237. on the amendment of Act XXXIII of 1989 and Act C of 1997] available at: http://www.parlament.hu/irom38/00237/00237.pdf

        -- T/4119-es sz. törvényjavaslat „a pártfinanszírozás átláthatóvá tétele” címmel. 2007. október 14. [Bill T/4119 on the transparency of funding political parties]

        --T/4190-es sz. törvényjavaslat 2007. október 26. [Bill T/4190 - basically the same bill under new appellation]

        --T/4394 A választások kampányköltségeinek csökkentésér?l az olcsóbb demokráciáért, 2007 [Bill T/4394 on reducing election campaign spending for a cheaper democracy]

        -- Joint Bill of Freedom House Europe and Transparency International Hungary on the transparency of campaign financing in 2009

        -- 2013. évi LXXXVII. törvény az országgy?lési képvisel?k választása kampányköltségeinek átláthatóvá tételér?l. 2013. [Act LXXXVII. of 2013 on Making the campaign costs of the national elections transparent]

        [Other] -- A pártfinanszírozás alapelvei [The Basic Principles of Party financing], Eötvös Károly Közpolitikai Intézet, 2006. available at: http://ekint.org/ekint_files/File/tanulmanyok/apartfinanszirozasalapelvei.pdf

        -- Megállapodás-tervezet a párt- és kampányfinanszírozás átalakításáról [Draft Agreement on the reform of the party and campaign finance system] Eötvös Károly Közpolitikai, Néz?pont Intézet, 2007. Available at: http://ekint.org/ekint/ekint.news.page?nodeid=159

        -- Elemzés - A pártfinanszírozás átláthatóvá tételér?l szóló T/4190 sz. törvényjavaslatról, és a hozzá kapcsolódó módosító indítványokról. [Analisys of the Bill T/4190 on the transparency of funding political parties and amending motions], dr. Peter Hack, 2009. Available at: http://kepmutatas.hu/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/torvenyelemzes.pdf

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    Third Party Actors

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      Applicability of the Law to Third-Party Actors
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        Score
        NO
        In law, third-party actors (foundations, think tanks, unions, political action committees, etc.) report itemized contributions received and expenditures to an oversight authority and the information is made publicly available.More about indicator

        The law on political finances neglects third-party actors, thus they are not required to submit any reports to the electoral oversight authority, even if they participate in the electoral campaigns of candidates.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) third-party actors are required to report to the oversight authority itemized contributions received and expenditures related to their support of electoral campaigns, and 2) the information must be publicly available.

        A MODERATE score is earned where third-party actors are required to report itemized contributions received and expenditures related to their support of electoral campaigns, but the information is not required to be publicly available. A MODERATE score is also earned where regulations exist, but only apply to electoral campaigns of one actor (whether political party or individual candidate).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        No such law exists.

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        0
        In practice, to what extent do third-party actors (foundations, think tanks, unions, political action committees, etc.) report itemized contributions received and expenditures to an oversight authority?More about indicator

        There are no rules that regulate the role of third-party actors at the elections. Political Action Committees have not been part of Hungarian campaign practices, although a foundation close to the government - CÖF / CÖKA (Forum of Civil Cooperation) spent almost 600 million HUF [2,2 million USD) on a nationwide campaign attacking opposition politicians at the 2014 elections. Its activities were similar to the campaigns of US PACs. Since there are no relevant rules, such NGOs have no other reporting duties than to file their regular annual report. Annual reports do not contain itimized information or incomes or expenditures.

        The leader of CÖKA Mr. László Csizmadia stated that CÖKA did not participate in any partisan campaign therefore they have no duties of reporting on any kind of campaign funds. Party Foundations might be as well considered as third party actors although interviewed party officials claimed that these foundations did not participate in financing party campaigns. None of the mentioned organizations published any information on their campaign related activities, incomes or spending.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where all third-party actors report to an oversight authority both itemized contributions received and itemized expenditures.

        A 50 score is earned where third-party actors report to an oversight authority either itemized contributions received or expenditures, but not both. A 50 score is also earned where the reports refer only to one type of third-party actor, but do not cover others.

        A 0 score is earned where third-party actors rarely or never report itemized contributions received or expenditures.

        Sources

        [Interviews] -- László Csizmadia, chair, CÖKA. Budapest, 01/08/2014. Via email. -- Laszló Sebián-Petrovszki, party director at Demokratikus Koalicio, Budapest 26/07/2014. Via email. -- Viktor Szigetvári, co-chair, Együtt 2014, Budapest, 26/07/2014. Via email.

        [Other] -- Presentation of Miklos Ligeti (legal director, TI Hungary) on the joint press conferece of TI Hungary, K-Monitor and Atlatszo.hu on corruption at the national elections in 2014 on 17-3-2014 . http://www.transparency.hu/uploads/docs/ligeti_mikloseloadasa_honlapra.pdf -- Egyszer?sített éves beszámoló eredmény-kimutatása [Profit and loss statement of the basic annual report], CÖKA, 2014. Available at: http://civilosszefogas.hu/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/2013-merleg.pdf

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        0
        In practice, to what extent can journalists and citizens easily access the financial information of third party actors, including the political spending of those actors in support of political parties and individual candidates?More about indicator

        Since there is no regulation on the operation of third party actors in political campaigns, only their regular annual report is publicly available. These documents are submitted to the registry court and contain basic financial information as the balance sheet, profit and loss statement, assets and equities & liabilities, overview of incomes and expenditures, and types of income. If it is a public benefit organisation it also has to file a public benefit report describing the main activities and the amount and types of funding. It is not required to specify all income and expenditures in detail, hence it is impossible to track their contribution to the campaign. Reports are not published in machine readable format.

        The Forum of Civil Cooperation (CÖF/CÖKA) as the only organisation that played a visible role in the campaign, published its profit and loss statement on its homepage. However its annual report for 2013 is still not available on the registry courts database. Information without any details on their expenditures in 2014, the year when the last elections took place, will be submitted only in May 2015.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. At the time of review the yearly report of CÖKA was available at the registry courts' database. Although the report is not too informative, it is accessible. Unfortunately the CÖKA's webpage only offers two pages from the report, which is clearly misleading (the whole report is not available). As in numerous cases with government documents, third party actors' reports published in pdf format, thus using the data for analysis is burdensome. In any case, such documents are hardly accessible.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) all relevant financial information is freely available online or in hard copy at the cost of photocopying, 2) it can be obtained within two days of requesting it, and 3) it is in a machine readable format (for example in csv or xml format).

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) information is available but in some cases is incomplete or lacking detail, 2) obtaining complete information takes up to a month, or 3) it's not necessarily in machine readable format.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) the information is not publicly available, or 2) obtaining it takes more than three months, or 3) the cost of obtaining it is prohibitive for the regular citizen.

        Sources

        [Interview] László Csizmadia, chair, CÖKA. 01-08-2014. Via email.

        [News] 20 millió forint pártpénz, 290 millió forint magánadomány a kormány civiljeinek [20 millions of party money and 290 millions of privat donations to the civils of the governments], András Becker, Atlatszo.hu, 06/06/2014. Available at: http://www.atlatszo.hu/2014/06/06/20-millio-forint-partpenz-290-millio-forint-maganadomany-a-kormany-civiljeinek/

        [Other] Egyszer?sített éves beszámoló eredmény-kimutatása [Profit and loss statement of the basic annual report], CÖKA, 2014. Available at: http://civilosszefogas.hu/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/2013-merleg.pdf Registry of NGOs: http://www.birosag.hu/allampolgaroknak/civil/tarsadalmi-szervezetek-es-alapitvanyok-nevjegyzeke

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        Open Question: Please describe how third party-actors (even if they are not regulated by your country's laws) obtain contributions and spend in support of political parties and/or individual candidates.More about indicator

        Third party actors similar to PACs are not typical participants at Hungarian elections, even though in some cases party foundations may support the activities and work of parliamentary parties. The operation of the previously mentioned Forum of Civil Cooperation (CÖF/CÖKA) is the only case where a third party actor played a significant role in the election campaign. Since no regulation applies, it is difficult to track finances of COF/COKA, though investigative journalists and NGOs tried to uncover sources of their funding.

        CÖF / CÖKA, an organisation that is connected through several ties to the government and became known for the “peace marches” that it organized in support of the government, started to published billboard advertisements and oversized posters before the official campaign period showing pictures of opposition leaders and a clown saying that “They don’t deserve another chance”. Its advertisements were as widely spread as those of the major parties. Although CÖF /CÖKA played an active role in the campaign its leader denied their participation.

        CÖF/CÖKA’s annual report from 2013 states that it received 20 million HUF [90000 USD] from the foundation of the government party and other 290 million HUF [1.3 million USD] from private donors. Investigative journalist and NGOs assume that this amount is comprised in part by hidden support from state owned companies, since CÖF /CÖKA’s income from tax donations was only 288.000 HUF [1300 USD] from 58 individuals. If CÖF / CÖKA would have a broad social support this figure should be several times higher. There is even less information on the expenditures of CÖF / CÖKA. Estimations by NGOs monitoring the campaign costs of the 2014 elections show that CÖF /CÖKA has spent almost 600 million [2.7 million USD] HUF in that period.

        The operation of party foundations is regulated by the law. Their aim is to strengthen political culture through academic, research and educational activities. Party foundations receive regular support from the state, that is only allowed to be spent on the above mentioned activities. Donations from private individuals can be accepted but they have to be disclosed. Party foundations have to provide annual reports, their operation is controlled every 2 years by the State Audit Office. According to our experts party foundations may assist their parties indirectly, eg. through training activists, providing infrastructure or funding experts, but they do not participate in visible activities. Parties may also receive support from companies they own or party-close NGOs but there is no evidence of this in reports and our interviewees stated that this was not the case at their parties.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - There are groups other than COF/COKA that support political parties, but they provide this support by their activity, rather than via advertising campaigns.

        This is attributable to the party of the far-right, Jobbik, as there are other organizations in the far-right that supports the Jobbik's campaign by appearing at its events and helping it in minor activites (like collecting endorsements for registering candidates). These organizations not officially part of the political party, but they clearly support the party's political activity and can help in activities that require a lot of manpower, for example visiting smaller towns. While the assistance of such organizations helped Jobbik to achieve a better result, these organizations are relativley small compared to the parties (maybe a few thousand people, but only a fraction of them helped in political activities).

        Clearly the most serious issue was the CÖKA's campaign, as its cost could have been in the hundreds of millions of HUFs and could influence the voters significantly. The CÖKA's campaign was absolutely significant, as it was a campaign equal to a campaign of a middle-sized party, while other organizations due to their limited financial power helped their favoured party very little.

        Scoring Criteria

        To answer this question please: 1) list the types of third-party actors that exist in your country and describe how they work to influence campaigns, 2) explain how important such actors are or not in the context of campaigns, including whether their expenditures are substantial in relation to that of political parties and individual candidates, and 3) if documented evidence indicates they circumvent laws intended to regulate political finance, please explain how and include references to the evidence.

        Sources

        [Interview] -- Orsolya Vincze, project manager, K-Monitor, 18/07/2014, Budapest, via email. -- Zoltán Miklósi, Research Director, Eötvös Károly Institute, Assistant Professor, Central European University, 10/08/2014, via email. -- László Sebián-Petrovszki, Chief Operating Officer of DK, Budapest. 27/07/2014. via email -- Viktor Szigetvári, Managing Co-Chair of Együtt 2014, Budapest. 26/07/2014. via email -- László Csizmadia, chair, CÖKA. 01-08-2014. via email

        [News] -- 20 millió forint pártpénz, 290 millió forint magánadomány a kormány civiljeinek [20 millions of party money and 290 millions of private donations to the civils of the governments], András Becker, Atlatszo.hu, 06/06/2014. Available at: http://www.atlatszo.hu/2014/06/06/20-millio-forint-partpenz-290-millio-forint-maganadomany-a-kormany-civiljeinek/

        [Laws] -- [Act XXXIII of 1989 on the Operation and Financial Management of Political Parties] Available online at: http://njt.hu/cgibin/njtdoc.cgi?docid=11014.262767 Section 9/A An English translation is available at http://www.partylaw.leidenuniv.nl/party-law/4dd27714-1b94-4e59-a9b1-089884e5412d.pdf , however, it does not contain the latest amendments.] -- [Act XLVII. of 2003 on Party Foundations] Available at: http://www.complex.hu/jr/gen/hjegy_doc.cgi?docid=A0300047.TV Section 3. § (3), (4), 3./A §

        Reviewer's sources: "Elvágom a torkodat" - Így fenyegették a jobbikosokat, Alfahir.hu, 24/03/2014 ["I will cut your throat" - Threatened the candidate of the Jobbik]; URL: http://alfahir.hu/elvagomatorkodatigyfenyegettekajobbikosokat_hernadkakon

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    Monitoring and Enforcement

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      Monitoring Capabilities
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        YES
        In law, political finance information is monitored by an independent oversight authority.More about indicator

        The State Audit Office (SAO) audits the financial management of subsidized parties every two years. The SAO also audits (within one year after the election) the use of the state support. The SAO is responsible to the National Assembly, but carries out audits independently.

        Apart from these audits the State Treasury (which is a central budget agency standing under the direction of the Minister for National Economy concerning both the functional and the regulatory aspects, responsible for the disbursement of public funds and control of these payments.) also reviews the financial statements on the use of election campaign support after the elections.

        Act LXVI of 2011 on the State Audit Office of Hungary states: Article 1 (2) The State Audit Office of Hungary conducts its audits independently of any other organisation.; Article 5 "(11) As required by provisions of law, the State Audit Office of Hungary – in terms of legality – shall audit a) the financial management of political parties; b) the utilisation of the contributions made available by the National Assembly to the groups of Members of Parliament representing each political party; "

        Act XXXIII of 1989 on the Operation and Financial Management of Political Parties states:
        "10. § (1) The Hungarian State Audit Office is entitled to audit the lawfulness of the financial management of the parties. (2) State administration organisations are not entitled to audit the parties from economic-financial aspects. (3) The State Audit Office of Hungary shall inspect each two years the financial management of those political parties that receive state budget subsidies regularly."

        Act LXXXVII of 2013 on the Transparency of Campaign Costs related to the Election of the Members of the Parliament states: "Section 8 (1) If a candidate signs an agreement with the Treasury according to Section 2, they shall submit a financial statement to the Treasury within 15 days after the individual results of the election of the Members of the Parliament in the relevant single mandate constituency have become effective, and attach to the statement the copies of all accounting documents concerning the use of the amount of support according to Section 1. (2) The review of the statement by the Treasury shall focus on verifying compliance with the provisions of Section 1 and Section 2, and, in particular, whether a) the expenses can be considered as real costs according to the regulations on public finances, b) the documentation of the expenses complies with the provisions of the Act on Accounting and the Act on Value Added Tax, c) the expenses were paid during the campaign period using the Treasury card or by way of transfer."

        Section 8/A from the same law says: " (1) A party setting up a party list shall submit an aggregated financial statement to the Treasury on all support according to Section 1 to be used by it and disbursed to it according to Section 2/A within 15 days after the list results of the election of the Members of the Parliament in the relevant single mandate constituency have become effective, and attach to the statement the copies of all associated accounting documents. (2) The review of the aggregated statement by the Treasury shall focus on verifying compliance with the provisions of Section 1 and Section 2/A, and, in particular, whether a) the expenses can be considered as real costs according to the regulations on public finances, b) the documentation of the expenses complies with the provisions of the Act on Accounting and the Act on Value Added Tax, c) the expenses were paid during the campaign period using the Treasury card or by way of transfer."

        From Section 8/B: "(1) Within one year from the election, the State Audit Office of Hungary shall, ex officio, perform a compulsory audit at the Treasury or, if necessary, at the candidate or, in the case according to Section 2/A, at the party nominating the candidate, concerning the use of the support according to Section 1 with respect to the candidates who have obtained a mandate in the Parliament. The State Audit Office of Hungary shall communicate its audit findings to the Treasury. If the State Audit Office of Hungary reveals methods of use that do not comply with the provisions of Sections 1, 2 or 2/A, then the candidate or, in the case according to Section 2/A, the party nominating the candidate shall pay to the Treasury an amount determined by the Treasury, which must be commensurate with the infringements related to non-compliance with any of the criteria for support according to Section 1, but not more than double the amount of support according to Section 1."

        From Section 9 (2): "The use of state and other funds according to the Act on the Operation and Financial Management of Political Parties spent on the election shall be audited by the State Audit Office of Hungary with respect to the candidates who have obtained a mandate in the Parliament and their nominating organisations ex officio, and with respect to other candidates and nominating organisations at the request of other candidates or nominating organizations."

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) an independent oversight authority is mandated to monitor political finance information, and 2) the authority has investigation and audit powers.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the independent oversight authority is mandated to monitor political finance information, but doesn't have investigation or audit powers.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        – 1989. évi XXXIII. törvény a pártok m?ködésér?l és gazdálkodásáról. [Act XXXIII of 1989 on the Operation and Financial Management of Political Parties] Available online at: http://njt.hu/cgibin/njtdoc.cgi?docid=11014.262767 An English translation is available at http://www.partylaw.leidenuniv.nl/party-law/4dd27714-1b94-4e59-a9b1-089884e5412d.pdf , however, it does not contain the latest amendments. Section 10.

        – 2011. évi LXVI. törvény az Állami Számvev?székr?l. Available online at: http://net.jogtar.hu/jr/gen/hjegy_doc.cgi?docid=A1100066.TV [Act LXVI of 2011 on the State Audit Office of Hungary.] English version available online at: http://www.asz.hu/introduction/act-lxvi-of-2011-on-the-sao/act-on-sao-july-2013.pdf. Sections 1, 5

        – 2013. évi LXXXVII. törvény az országgy?lési képvisel?k választása kampányköltségeinek átláthatóvá tételér?l [Act LXXXVII of 2013 on the Transparency of Campaign Costs related to the Election of the Members of the Parliament ] Available online at: http://njt.hu/cgibin/njtdoc.cgi?docid=161284.243512 (English version: http://valasztas.hu/en/ovi/241/241112.html ]; Sections 8, 8/A, 8/B, 9

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        MODERATE
        In law, high-level appointments to the oversight authority are based on merit.More about indicator

        According to legal provisions, a committee of the National Assembly proposes persons to be elected President of the State Audit Office, and the President is elected by the Assembly. It should be emphasised that – obviously – the composition of committee reflects that of the National Assembly, therefore there is hardly fierce competition for the position. While there are no qualification or experience requirements for the high-ranking officials, there are strict rules for conflict of interests. (Although, these rules might be circumvented, see practical implications as well.)

        The Hungarian State Treasury (which, in fact, is a non-independent governmental body) has also some oversight responsibilities over the campaign expenditures. The head of the Hungarian State Treasury is appointed by the minister responsible for budget. There are no designated conflict of interest rules, however, some qualification and experience (3 years) requirements are prescribed.

        From the Fundamental Law of Hungary: Section 43 (2) The President of the State Audit Office shall be elected with the votes of two-thirds of the Members of the National Assembly for twelve years.

        From the Act on SAO: Article 9 (1) The National Assembly shall establish an eight-member nominating committee consisting of Members of Parliament to propose persons who can be elected President of the State Audit Office of Hungary. (2) Persons who, during the previous four years, were members of the Government or held any elected senior position in the national (central) organisation of any political party may not be nominated for President of the State Audit Office of Hungary. (3) The person nominated for President of the State Audit Office of Hungary shall be heard by the committee of the National Assembly responsible for matters related to the State Audit Office of Hungary.

        Article 18 (1) The positions of President, Vice-President, executive officer and auditor at the State Audit Office of Hungary shall be incompatible with functions at any organisation that receives funding from a subsystem of public finances. (2) During their employment at the State Audit Office of Hungary, the President, Vice-President, executive officers and auditors of the State Audit Office of Hungary shall not be Members of Parliament or members of bodies of representatives of local governments, and shall not hold senior positions at advocacy organisations. (3) With the exception of scientific, tutorial, artistic, proofreading, editing and intellectual activities protected by law, the President, Vice-President, executive officers and auditors of the State Audit Office of Hungary shall not be engaged in any other assignment or gainful employment and shall not accept any remuneration for other activities. (4) The President, Vice-President, executive officers and auditors of the State Audit Office of Hungary may neither be relatives (as specified in the Act on Civil Servants) of one another nor of the officials or members of the Government or of any committee of the National Assembly competent in matters related to the State Audit Office. (5) If a reason for conflict of interest exists in relation to the person of the President, Vice-President, executive officer or auditor of the State Audit Office of Hungary, the person concerned shall eliminate such reason within ten days from their election or appointment, or from the occurrence of the conflict of interest if it arises afterwards. They shall not exercise their powers or attend to their duties until this has taken place. (6) In the case of executive officers and auditors, conflicts of interest are established by the President. (7) The rules on conflict of interest applying to auditors and laid down in this Article shall also shall be applied to experts invited by the State Audit Office of Hungary to participate in the audit, and to other participants engaged under agency contracts.

        Article 14 (1) The Vice-President of the State Audit Office of Hungary shall be appointed by the President for a term of twelve years. (2) Persons who, during the previous four years, were members of the Government or held any elected senior position in the national (central) organisation of any political party may not be appointed as Vice-President of the State Audit Office of Hungary.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) high-level appointments must be based on merit in a public appointment process; and 2) appointees must be free of conflicts of interest due to personal loyalties, family connections, political party affiliations, business partners or other biases.

        A MODERATE score is earned where high-level appointments must be based on merit in a public appointment process, but the regulations don't forbid appointments involving conflicts of interest or other biases.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        – 2011. évi LXVI. törvény az Állami Számvev?székr?l. Available online at: http://net.jogtar.hu/jr/gen/hjegy_doc.cgi?docid=A1100066.TV [Act LXVI of 2011 on the State Audit Office of Hungary.] English version available online at: http://www.asz.hu/introduction/act-lxvi-of-2011-on-the-sao/act-on-sao-july-2013.pdf. Sections 9, 18

        – Magyarország Alaptörvénye. [Fundamental Law of Hungary] Available online at: http://net.jogtar.hu/jr/gen/hjegy_doc.cgi?docid=A1100425.ATV An English translation is available at http://www.kormany.hu/download/e/02/00000/The%20New%20Fundamental%20Law%20of%20Hungary.pdf, Art. 43. (2)

        – 311/2006 Korm. rendelet a Magyar Államkincstárról. Available online at: http://njt.hu/cgibin/njtdoc.cgi?docid=104908.209045 [Gov. Decree 311/2006 on the on the Hungarian State Treasury.] No English version available. Relevant Sections in effect from 2012.

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        In practice, to what extent are high-level appointments to the oversight authority based on merit?More about indicator

        It is important to highlight that the President and vice-president of the State Audit Office – the relevant oversight authority – was appointed for a 12 year term in 2010.

        László Domokos, a former MP of the Government party was appointed as the President of SAO. Many NGOs and opponent parties raised their concerns about the appointment because of the following reasons: – as a former party politician, it is unethical that he is appointed as the leader of an organization whose responsibility is to audit financial management of parties. It cannot be expected of him to be impartial during the audits and investigations – as a former politician, he was involved in municipal bond issuances and questionable housing allowances – practices that were identified as risky in former SAO-reports – while he has a degree from economics, he had little relevant experience and qualification for the position.

        He was appointed by the 8-member committee, and elected by the National Assembly. (In the Assembly and in the committee the government party had sufficient majority, therefore no consensus with parliamentary opposition was needed.) The current President of the Treasury is also a former MP of the Government Party.

        According to Ligeti, although the nomination of the SAO leader may have been politically motivated, most high level officials at the SAO are professionals and have sufficient knowledge and experience to maintain their duties.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) there is an advertised competition and public vetting process, 2) candidates with the most merit and without conflicts of interest or other biases are appointed.

        A 50 score is earned where the public competition is usually advertised and the vetting process public, but exceptions exist. A 50 score is also earned where candidates with the most merit and without conflicts of interest or other biases are appointed but exceptions exist.

        A 0 score is earned where there's rarely or never a public competition, or appointees are rarely selected on merit or without conflicts of interest or other biases.

        Sources

        [Interview] -- Miklós Ligeti, legal director, Transparency International Hungary, Budapest,08/08/2014. via phone.

        [News] -- Domokos László leend? ÁSZ-elnök pályaképe - Szereti a pénzt [Portrait of László Domokos elected President of the SAO - He likes money], Tamás Bod, Magyar Narancs, 24/06/2014. available at: http://magyarnarancs.hu/belpol/domokoslaszloleendoasz-elnokpalyakepe-szeretiapenzt-74025 -- K-Monitor: problémás Domokos László ÁSZ elnökké való jelölése [K-Monitor: The nomination of László Domokos for SAO Prezident is problematic], HVG, 17/06/2014. Available at: http://hvg.hu/itthon/20100617kmonitordomokoslaszlo

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        MODERATE
        In law, the independence of high-level appointees is guaranteed.More about indicator

        The SAO carries outs its audits independently, and they work on a basis of an independent audit plan approved by the President of the SAO. Otherwise, responsibilities in individual cases are designated to the SAO itself, not to the President of SAO.

        The SAO should conduct audits based on the decisions of the National Assembly – but the Assembly cannot give direct orders on the results of an audit. The President only informs the National Assembly of the adoption or amendment of his audit plan, so his case review and decision making do not require the support or approval of the national assembly. The same cannot be stated, however, for high level leading officials (leading auditors, executive officers, etc) who are appointed by the president and depend on his approval of their actions. Therefore, only the President is authorized to act as an independent authority.

        The National Assembly may remove the President of the SAO based on a due process.
        The tenure of the President is set forth in the Fundamental Law of Hungary.

        From the Fundamental Law of Hungary: 43 (2) The President of the State Audit Office shall be elected with the votes of two-thirds of the Members of the National Assembly for twelve years.

        From the Act on SAO: Article 3 (1) The tasks of the State Audit Office of Hungary are set forth in this and other acts. (2) The State Audit Office of Hungary shall work on the basis of an audit plan approved by its President. The President of the State Audit Office of Hungary shall inform the National Assembly about the audit plan and any amendments thereto. (3) Within its statutory competence, the State Audit Office of Hungary a) shall conduct audits pursuant to decisions taken by the National Assembly; b) may conduct audits upon the request of the Government. Article 11 4) The mandate may be terminated by removal if, for any reasons not attributable to them, the President of the State Audit Office of Hungary has not been able to perform the duties arising out of their mandate. Removal shall be initiated by the Immunity Committee of the National Assembly. Removal shall require two thirds of the votes of the Members of Parliament. (5) The National Assembly shall terminate the mandate by exclusion if, for any reason attributable to them, the President of the State Audit Office of Hungary has failed to perform the duties arising out of their mandate, or has been finally convicted of any crime. Exclusion shall be initiated by the Immunity Committee. Exclusion shall require two thirds of the votes in the National Assembly.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) appointees have the authority or mandate to review cases and issue decisions, 2) the law establishes security of tenure, and 3) removal or disciplinary actions are based on due process conducted by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        A MODERATE score is earned where appointees have the authority or mandate to review cases and issue decisions, BUT one of the second two conditions mentioned in the YES criteria is not met.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        – 2011. évi LXVI. törvény az Állami Számvev?székr?l. Available online at: http://net.jogtar.hu/jr/gen/hjegy_doc.cgi?docid=A1100066.TV [Act LXVI of 2011 on the State Audit Office of Hungary.] English version available online at: http://www.asz.hu/introduction/act-lxvi-of-2011-on-the-sao/act-on-sao-july-2013.pdf. Section 3, 11.

        – 2011. Magyarország Alaptörvénye. [Fundamental Law of Hungary] Available online at: http://net.jogtar.hu/jr/gen/hjegy_doc.cgi?docid=A1100425.ATV An English translation is available at http://www.kormany.hu/download/e/02/00000/The%20New%20Fundamental%20Law%20of%20Hungary.pdf, Art. 43. (2)

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        50
        In practice, to what extent is the independence of high-level appointees guaranteed?More about indicator

        According to our expert, the appointment of the President of State Audit Office (SAO) was politically motivated, which is typical for high level appointments over the last few decades in Hungary. Despite acceptable regulation it has always been possible to circumvene principles and regulation on the independence of high ranking leaders of control institutions. Due to the supermajority of the government party in the parliament there was not even a political compromise needed when the current SAO President was nominated.

        The vice-president and all other leaders of the SAO are appointed by the President of the SAO. Apart from professional criteria and vague conflict of interest regulation there are no rules that could withhold the SAO President from appointing leading officials based political ties. Despite the above mentioned problems the SAO often formulates criticism and concerns in its reports.

        Experiences from the last decade show that even leaders appointed through a consensus were not proactive in investigating breaches of campaign finance regulation, and were not risking conflicts with political parties in this field.

        NGOs critized the SAO in March for not conducting in depth investigations of campaign spending and party reports. Moreover leaders of TI Hungary, Atlatszo.hu and K-Monitor sent a joint letter to the president of the SAO requesting that he investigate suspected breaches of the law, while providing a detailed list of suspected violations. In its answer the general secretary of the SAO claimed that their control rights are limited, therefore the SAO will only investigate to the level specified in the law.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where all of the following conditions are met: 1) appointees review cases and issue decisions without fear or favor from other branches of government, and 2) appointees are granted security of tenure and 3) no appointees are removed, disciplined or transferred without due process by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        A 50 score is earned where any of the following conditions apply: 1) appointees generally operate without fear or favor from other branches of government but exceptions exist, or 2) some but not all appointees are granted security of tenure, or 3) appointees are occasionally removed, disciplined or transferred without due process by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        A 0 score is earned where at least one of the following conditions apply: 1) appointees operate with fear or favor from other branches of government, or 2) are not granted security of tenure, or 3) are usually removed, disciplined or transferred without observing due process by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        Sources

        [Interview] -- Miklós Ligeti, legal director, Transparency International Hungary, Budapest,08/08/2014. via phone

        [News] -- K-Monitor: problémás Domokos László ÁSZ elnökké való jelölése [K-Monitor: The nomination of László Domokos for SAO President is problematic], HVG, 17/06/2014. Available at: http://hvg.hu/itthon/20100617kmonitordomokoslaszlo -- Ennyire vizsgálják a kampányköltéseket [This is how campaign costs are controlled], NOL, 18/03/2014. Available at: http://nol.hu/belfold/ennyire-vizsgaljak-a-kampanykolteseket-1450835

        [Other] -- Az Állami Számvev?szék Szervezeti és M?ködési Szabályzata [bylaws of the SAO] available at: http://www.asz.hu/jogi-dokumentumok/szmsz/szmsz-2013-xii-31-utasitas.pdf [English version does not exist] --Letter from SAO general secretary dr. János Elek. 23/07/2014.

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        --
        Open Question: How does decision-making work in the oversight authority?More about indicator

        The SAO - not unlike the majority of Hungarian public law institutions - is a sole management organisation that carries out its audits independently. It should conduct audits based on the decisions of the National Assembly – but the Assembly cannot give direct orders on the results of an audit. The audits are organised and pursued in a project based system, and the auditors work on the basis of an independent audit plan approved by the President of the SAO.

        The SAO is headed by its President, who shall ensure that the organisation performs its duties and works in compliance with statutory provisions and who appoints the vice president, the executive officers and other leaders on the lower levels of the units. Therefore the legal status and personal qualities of the president of the SAO determine the profile and the thoroughness of the audits within the regulatory framework. According to our experts, the audits are conducted in a spirit of formal, ex officio, a posteriori investigations, although the existing regulations would allow the organisation to initiate a more substantial audit process as well.

        With one word, one-man leadership solely is not the obstacle of in depth investigations, but the lack of internal or external review process makes the system less potent, leading to the approval of less ambitious audit plans.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please describe: 1) the composition of the decision-making body within the oversight authority, 2) the type of decisions it's allowed to make and makes in practice, and 3) in which cases majority is required. If there have been well substantiated complaints about the decision-making process being ineffective or politicized please explain.

        Sources

        [Interview] -- Miklós Ligeti, legal director, Transparency International Hungary, Budapest, 08/08/2014. via phone -- Orsolya Vincze, project manager, K-Monitor, 18/07/2014, Budapest, via email.

        [Other] -- Az Állami Számvev?szék Szervezeti és M?ködési Szabályzata, 2013. [bylaws of the SAO] available at: http://www.asz.hu/jogi-dokumentumok/szmsz/szmsz-2013-xii-31-utasitas.pdf [English version does not exist]

        -- Az Állami Számvev?szék Alapító Okirata, 2011. [Deed of foundation of the SAO] available at: http://www.asz.hu/jogi-dokumentumok/alapito-okirat/asz-alapito-okirat-2012-januar-1.pdf [English version avaliable at: http://www.asz.hu/introduction/sao-deed-of-foundation/sao-deed-of-foundation-20110701.pdf]

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        100
        In practice, to what extent does the authority have sufficient capacity to monitor political finance regulations?More about indicator

        The SAO (the relevant oversight authority) compiles its proposal for its own budget and its report on the implementation of its budget itself, which is then submitted without any changes by the Government to the National Assembly as part of the central budget appropriation bill. According to the reports listed in the SAO’s homepage, in the Act on the Budget, the National Assembly allocated HUF 7,240.5 million for the discharge of the SAO’s duties in 2012, of which HUF 7,220.5 million [31.45 million USD] was covered from subsidies and HUF 20.0 million [87,108.0 USD] from the SAO’s own revenues. In 2013, the amount of state subsidies rose HUF 7,660.8 million [33.37 million USD] and the SAO’s own revenues stayed at HUF 20.0 million

        The staff designated to perform the tasks of the SAO consists of 598 employees. During the year 2013, the personnel - amongst other activities - audited 559 organisations and drafted 2249 recommendations. According to these figures and to our interviewee, this can be considered as a manageable workload.

        [For comparison: In the case of the Hungarian Prosecution Service the number of recorded cases waiting to be processed was 901,635 in 2013. The investigative bodies received 11,341 criminal complaints and the number of cases relating to the protection of public interest was 210,789, while on the 1st of January 2013 the number of allotted positions in the Prosecution Service was 4,695 (the number of allotted positions for prosecutors was 2,014) and 36,802.8 million HUF [160.3 million USD] original expenditure estimates were made available for the professional duties of the Prosecution Service within its budgetary chapter].

        Beside that, a Research Institute supports the work of the SAO, creating studies with the purpose of widening professional background for audit activities. Therefore it can be stated that the reasons of less ambitious audit plans may lay not in the lack of financial and human resources.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) the authority has sufficient budget to monitor all incoming reports, and 2) it has sufficient staff to review all incoming reports.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) the authority has insufficient budget to monitor all incoming reports, or 2) its staff can only review half of all incoming reports.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) the authority can't fulfill most of its essential functions due to budget constraints, or 2) its staff only has the capacity to review 25% or less of all incoming reports.

        Sources

        [Interview] --Miklós Ligeti, legal director of Transparency International, Budapest. 08/08/2014. via phone.

        [Other] -- Tájékoztató az Állami Számvev?szék 2013. évi szakmai tevékenységér?l és beszámoló az intézmény m?ködésér?l, [Report on the Professional Activity and Operation of the State Audit Office of Hungary in 2013.] 2014. avaliable at: http://www.asz.hu/jelentes/tajekoztato-az-allami-szamvevoszek-2013-evi-szakmai-tevekenysegerol-es-beszamolo-az-intezmeny-mukodeserol/125j000.pdf [English version is not available]

        -- Tájékoztató az Állami Számvev?szék 2012. évi szakmai tevékenységér?l és beszámoló az intézmény m?ködésér?l, 2013[ Report on the Professional Activity and Operation of the State Audit Office of Hungary in 2012] available at: http://www.asz.hu/jelentes/tajekoztato-az-allami-szamvevoszek-2012-evi-szakmai-tevekenysegerol-es-beszamolo-az-intezmeny-mukodeserol/10973j000.pdf

        [English (extract) version is available at: http://www.asz.hu/report-summary/2013/summary-report-on-the-professional-activity-and-operation-of-the-state-audit-office-of-hungary-in-2012/2012-sao-activity-report.pdf

        --Országgy?lési beszámoló az ügyészség 2013. évi tevékenységér?l [Report on the activities of the Prosecution Service to the Hungarian Parliament] available at: http://mklu.hu/hnlp14/wp-content/uploads/farkasil/2013/11/ogybeszamolo2013.pdf [English (extract) version available at: http://www.mklu.hu/pdf/ogybesz/ogybeszamolo2013eng.pdf]

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        50
        In practice, to what extent does the authority conduct investigations or audits when necessary?More about indicator

        The most recent general election took place in the April of 2014, and the SAO has 1 year to conduct audits, therefore the outcome of the investigations can only be speculated upon based on the former activities of the relevant oversight authority. As we stated before, the SAO performs its tasks by conducting formal, a posteriori investigations that comply with the wording of the laws. The institutional attitude towards monitoring public funding can be characterized as very careful with the lack of proactive steps, though the SAO is endowed with powers initiating substantial in depth investigations.

        According to its official press releases the SAO is an office, not an investigation agency, that focuses on the overseeing of public finance system by ex officio audits performed upon public audit plans.

        Soon after publishing the official results of the general election, the SAO announced that it initiated preliminary audits on every nominating organisation supported by state subsidy, not just the ones that obtained seats in the Parliament. So far, the audits are conducted with the mentioned tools, namely examining invoices, receipts, and documents of the audited entities, complying with the formal perspective of the regulations. Further can be stated after the termination of the audits.

        The Hungarian Treasury also examines the relevant spendings of political parties and individual candidates, but investigations are still taking place and not going beyond the preliminary compliance aspects prescribed by the Act on the Transparency of Campaign Costs related to the Election of the Members of the Parliament. Deep substantial monitoring can not be expected from the body that is incorporated in the executive power.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. The SAO audit will cover both parties and individual candidates. The SAO is conducting one audit directly related to the use of state support for campaign finances, and this audit, will cover all the actors who received state support. At the time of the review the audit was ongoing, it will be published later.

        The SAO also has a legal obligation to audit the parties regularly, and considering this in its next audit it can also check the campaign expenditures. These audits probably will take place in 2016.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where the authority conducted at least three investigations or audits during the most recent electoral campaign.

        A 50 score is earned where the authority conducted at least one investigation or audit during the most recent electoral campaign.

        A 0 score is earned where the authority didn't conduct any investigation or audit during the most recent electoral campaign.

        Sources

        [Interview] -- Orsolya Vincze, project manager, K-Monitor, 18/07/2014, Budapest, via email. -- Miklós Ligeti, legal director of Transparency International Hungary, Budapest, 08/08/2014. via phone

        [News] -- A kamupártokat is ellen?rzi az ÁSZ ["Fake parties are audited by the SAO as well] by MTI. Nol.hu, 08/07/2014. available at :http://nol.hu/belfold/a-kamupartokat-is-ellenorzi-az-asz-1472911

        -- ÁSZ: Az Állami Számvev?szék hivatal, nem nyomozó hatóság [SAO: The State Audit Office is an office, not an investigation agency] by Jogi Fórum/SAO press release, Jogi Fórum 28/11/2013. available at: http://www.jogiforum.hu/hirek/30791

        Reviewer's sources: Az Állami Számvev?szék 2014. második félévi ellen?rzési terve [The State Audit Office's audit plan for the second half of 2014], pages 48 and 52; URL: http://www.asz.hu/ellenorzesi-tervek/2014/az-allami-szamvevoszek-2014-masodik-felevi-ellenorzesi-terve/asz-2014-ii-felevi-ell-ocr.pdf

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        25
        In practice, to what extent does the authority publish the results of investigations or audits?More about indicator

        Generally the results of all SAO audits and investigations are completely public and available online. Since the SAO has not finished the audits of the last election reports of the parties it is not possible to assess them yet. The SAO has a year to publish the results of its audit after receiving the report from the parties.

        It is not known whether SAO reports are withheld after their conclusion. The Act on SAO does not contain explicit rules about the deadline of publishing audit reports after termination, so this regulation gap could in theory pose some issues. After the April 2010 elections, the SAO took until May 2011 to publish their reports, though it's impossible to note when the audits themselves were complete.

        According to our expert the biggest problem with SAO investigations is that it they are only formal audits without checking compliance of real and reported incomes and expenditures. It only examines whether the reports are correct in terms of accounting.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. The SAO does have the legal authority to conduct performance audits, but only very few are actually conducted.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where the authority publishes reports of all its investigations or audits a month or less after their conclusion.

        A 50 score is earned where reports are available to the public more than a month after the conclusion of the investigation or audit.

        A 0 score is earned where reports are not available to the public or they become available after six months or more after conclusion of the investigation or audit. A 0 score is also earned where only summaries of the reports are publicly available.

        Sources

        [Interview] -- Miklós Ligeti, legal director, Transparency International Hungary, Budapest,08/08/2014. via phone

        [News] Pártok és pártalapítványok gazdálkodása [Financial management of political parties and their foundations], Állami Számvev?szék, 15/01/2014. Avaialble at: http://www.aszhirportal.hu/en/reports/financial-management-of-political-parties-and-their-foundations

        [Other] Jelentés a Fidesz 2010-2011 évi gazdálkodása törvényességének ellen?rzésér?l [Report on the audit of Fidesz 2010-2011]. March 2013. Available at: http://www.asz.hu/jelentes/13018/jelentes-a-fidesz-magyar-polgari-szovetseg-2010-2011-evi-gazdalkodasa-torvenyessegenek-ellenorzeserol/13018j000.pdf

        JELENTÉS a 2010. évi országgy?lési választásra fordított pénzeszközök elszámolásának ellen?rzésér?l a jelöl? szervezeteknél és a független jelöltnél [Report on the control of the financial accounts submitted on the 2010 national elections by the parties and the independent candidate], SAO, 2411/05/2011. available at: http://www.asz.hu/jelentes/1105/jelentes-a-2010-evi-orszaggyulesi-valasztasra-forditott-penzeszkozok-elszamolasanak-ellenorzeserol-a-jelolo-szervezeteknel-es-a-fuggetlen-jeloltnel/1105j000.pdf [English version available at: http://www.asz.hu/report-summary/2011/summary-of-the-audit-on-the-accounting-for-funds-spent-on-the-2010-parliamentary-elections-at-nominating-organisations-and-independent-candidates/1105-election-funds.pdf]

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      Enforcement Capabilities
      More about category
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        YES
        In law, there are sanctions in response to political finance violations.More about indicator

        The Act on financial management of parties explicitly sanctions illegal contributions, but sanctions are rather weak. (There are more general sanctions for unspecified violations of party financing regulations, see also Q 48. ) The Act on the transparency of campaign costs also sets forth several concrete sanctions in case of infringements.

        In case of illegal asset contributions to parties (legal entities, anonymous contributions, foreign citizens, states, organizations See Q 9--16,) parties are “obliged to pay its value – upon being summoned by the State Audit Office of Hungary – within fifteen days to the state budget. In case of default the debt has to be collected with the method that is applicable to taxes. Simultaneously, in addition to this, the state budget subsidy of the party shall be reduced with the amount that corresponds to the value of the accepted asset contribution.” (Act XXXIII of 1989 on the Operation and Financial Management of Political Parties, Section 4(4))

        In case of exceeding the limit of campaign expenditures (See Q 17. ) parties and candidates “shall pay back to the central budget double the amount by which they have exceeded the total maximum amount that may be spent on the election according to Section 7 within 15 days after receiving a notice from the State Audit Office of Hungary.” Act LXXXVII of 2013 on the Transparency of Campaign Costs related to the Election of the Members of the Parliament, Section 9 (4)

        In case of failing to submit a financial statement on the campaign expenditure from state support candidates and parties “shall pay double the amount of support” or if the statement is not approved by the Treasury, parties and candidates “shall pay double the amount of support (...) has has not been properly reported”. Act LXXXVII of 2013 on the Transparency of Campaign Costs related to the Election of the Members of the Parliament, Section 8 (3), 8/A (3)

        In case of any other infringement of the rules about using the state support explored by the State Audit Office in the compulsory audit process, the candidate or the party “shall pay to the Treasury an amount determined by the Treasury, which must be commensurate with the infringements related to non-compliance with any of the criteria for support” (maximum the double of the amount of support). Act LXXXVII of 2013 on the Transparency of Campaign Costs related to the Election of the Members of the Parliament, Section 8/B (1).

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) the law clearly defines violations of political finance laws, and 2) there are clearly defined sanctions for specific violations.

        A MODERATE score is earned where violations are clearly defined but sanctions for specific violations are not.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        – 1989. évi XXXIII. törvény a pártok m?ködésér?l és gazdálkodásáról. [Act XXXIII of 1989 on the Operation and Financial Management of Political Parties] Available online at: http://njt.hu/cgibin/njtdoc.cgi?docid=11014.262767 An English translation is available at http://www.partylaw.leidenuniv.nl/party-law/4dd27714-1b94-4e59-a9b1-089884e5412d.pdf , however, it does not contain the latest amendments. Section 4.

        – 2013. évi LXXXVII. törvény az országgy?lési képvisel?k választása kampányköltségeinek átláthatóvá tételér?l [Act LXXXVII of 2013 on the Transparency of Campaign Costs related to the Election of the Members of the Parliament ] Available online at: http://njt.hu/cgibin/njtdoc.cgi?docid=161284.243512 (English version: http://valasztas.hu/en/ovi/241/241112.html ] Sections 8, 8/a, 8/b, 9.

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        MODERATE
        In law, the oversight authority has the power to impose sanctions.More about indicator

        Apart from the sanctions described in Q47, the State Audit Office has power to – “summon the party to reinstate the lawful situation”, or in case of “graver violations of law or if the party does not act according to the summons, then the President of the State Audit Office shall initiate a procedure of the Prosecutor.” (Section 10(4)).

        There are more general sanctions that may be imposed by the SAO during its audit according the Act on SAO.

        From Section 30 (1) of that law: If during the audit the State Audit Office of Hungary has grounds to suspect a criminal offence, it shall notify the competent authority of its findings without delay. In the case of other illegal acts it may initiate the clarification and enforcement of liability. The requested entity shall notify the State Audit Office of Hungary of its position concerning the initiation of the proceedings, unless otherwise provided by law, within sixty days, and of the outcome of the proceedings within thirty days from completion of the same. According to Article 33 audited organisations “shall develop an action plan in response to the findings of the audition”, and in case they fail to submit the action plan on time, or submit an action plan that is still unacceptable, the President of the State Audit Office of Hungary may – initiate criminal proceedings or disciplinary action against the head of the audited entity or – apply to the competent authority or organisation for the suspension of the disbursement of subsidies or other allowances due to the audited entity from a subsystem of public finances.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) the oversight authority has the power to impose sanctions, and 2) it can directly prosecute violators before the courts or is independent to send cases to public prosecution.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the oversight authority has the power to impose sanctions, but it can't directly prosecute violators before the courts or is not independent to send cases to public prosecution.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        –- 1989. évi XXXIII. törvény a pártok m?ködésér?l és gazdálkodásáról. [Act XXXIII of 1989 on the Operation and Financial Management of Political Parties] Available online at: http://njt.hu/cgibin/njtdoc.cgi?docid=11014.262767 An English translation is available at http://www.partylaw.leidenuniv.nl/party-law/4dd27714-1b94-4e59-a9b1-089884e5412d.pdf , however, it does not contain the latest amendments. Section 10.

        –- 2011. évi LXVI. törvény az Állami Számvev?székr?l. Available online at: http://net.jogtar.hu/jr/gen/hjegy_doc.cgi?docid=A1100066.TV [Act LXVI of 2011 on the State Audit Office of Hungary.] English version available online at: http://www.asz.hu/introduction/act-lxvi-of-2011-on-the-sao/act-on-sao-july-2013.pdf. Sections 30, 33.

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        50
        In practice, to what extent do offenders comply with sanctions imposed?More about indicator

        Legal sanctions are weak and the SAO is not proactive in investigating violations of campaign finance rules. The SAO has formulated recommendations in its reports to the parties, but there is no information on sanctions.

        The State Treasury has imposed sanctions on individual candidates who could not give an account on their spendings from the 1 million HUF [4355 USD] state support or there were irregularities in their reports. 196 candidates from almost all political parties have to pay funds back to the treasury. Candidates from bigger parties will probably comply with the sanctions candidates from fake parties will not, but at this point information is not available. If candidates do not pay the imposed sanction the Tax Authority might take actions against violators.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) offenders comply with the sanctions imposed without exception, and 2) they are not repeat offenders.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) offenders usually comply with the sanctions imposed but exceptions exist, or 2) most are not repeat offenders but some exceptions exist.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) offenders rarely comply with the sanctions imposed, or 2) most are repeat offenders.

        Sources

        [Interview] -- Miklós Ligeti, legal director, Transparency International Hungary, Budapest,08/08/2014. via phone

        [News] -- Kampánypénzek: háromból egy jelölt nem tudott elszámolni [Campaign funds: One out of three candidates could not give account on their spendings], Károly Lencsés, NOL, 29/06/2014. Available at: http://nol.hu/belfold/ketszaz-jelolt-nem-tudott-elszamolni-a-kincstar-buntet-1476947

        -- Több mint kétszázmillió forintot kell visszafizetniük a jelölteknek [Candidates have to pay back more than 200 million HUF], hirdado.hu, 30/07/2014

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        Open Question: How strong is enforcement, and what impedes more effective enforcement?More about indicator

        Weak enforcement is one of the major obstacles of a more effective political finance system in Hungary. Problems with the legal regulation, the role of the State Audit Office and bad practices in managing campaign funds together lead to the weakness of enforcement.

        Parties have many fewer obligations on reporting than companies or NGOs, therefore regulation should prescribe more detailed, itemized, fully transparent accounting and mandatory campaign accounts for both candidates and parties during campaigns and between elections as well. Standardized forms for incomes and expenditures would make reporting more traceable, comparable and transparent.

        Campaign and PR activities of the government and third party actors have to be regulated, since this grey zone of campaigning makes effective enforcement impossible. Equal access to airtime and list prices for all types of advertisements could lead to fair conditions in campaign communication.

        The State Audit Office could reinterpret its role as oversight body pro-actively investigate finances of the parties. Furthermore amendments to the law on the SAO could specify in depth investigations and make it possible to impose more strict sanctions.

        Further increasing of state funding and raising spending limits, while implementing fair rules and equal access to resources could move party managers to comply with regulation and find other options of financing campaigns than using illegal sources or circumventing rules.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - The weak enforcement of politican finance regulations is a function of the current law. The rules - intentionally or unintentionally - neglect some of the areas connected to parties or leave out cases that should be regulated. The oversight authority cannot decide on these cases.

        An example for the former is the activity of third-party actors, which are not required to report their expenditures when they conduct political activities The reporting requirements for parties are also insufficient to provide meaningful information. Itemized reporting requirements would enhance the contents of reports, but the best practice solution would be a "campaign account." Another area of weakness is the case of local municipalities, where mayors have significant power to use at the local level, so they can influence the outcome of the elections in a favorable way.

        The legal framework could also be enhanced by regulating the "campaign incidents", like vote-buying, misguiding information or negative campaigns. Because the members of the Election Offices are appointed by parties, and are usually party members, the independence of this institution is questionable.

        It is also required to enhance the role of the SAO and require it to conduct more insightful audits, that also covers whether expenditures were justified or overpriced. From the legal audit it could move towards the performance audit. The cited interview with the former president of the SAO justifies that the institution only audits whether the accounting was legally ok, but doesnot check the sums or their content in depth. Although the date of the interview may be outside the period of study, this concern is still valid.

        NGOs also have concrete proposals for improving the transparency of campaign finances, for example see the cited document of Transparency International. One important proposal from it is that the current rules would be much more effective if they were not only applied to the state support, but all the campaign expenditures. Finally, note that recently, there was a little improvement in advertising costs, as every participant of the media had to list their prices before the elections and provide its services at the listed price for every party.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please provide a general explanation of the effectiveness of enforcement, describing: 1) any conditions that may prevent effective enforcement, and 2) explain what are the most urgent areas of reform in the country's political finance system.

        Sources

        [Interview] -- Orsolya Vincze, project manager, K-Monitor, 18/07/2014, Budapest, via email -- László Sebián-Petrovszki, Chief Operating Officer of DK, Budapest. 27/07/2014. via email -- Viktor Szigetvári, Managing Co-Chair of Együtt 2014, Budapest. 26/07/2014. via email -- Miklós Ligeti, legal director, Transparency International Hungary, Budapest, 08/08/2014. via phone

        [Other] -- A pártfinanszírozás alapelvei [The Basic Principles of Party financing], Eötvös Károly Közpolitikai Intézet, 2006. available at: http://ekint.org/ekint_files/File/tanulmanyok/apartfinanszirozasalapelvei.pdf

        -- Megállapodás-tervezet a párt- és kampányfinanszírozás átalakításáról [Draft Agreement on the reform of the party and campaign finance system] Eötvös Károly Közpolitikai, Néz?pont Intézet, 2007. Available at: http://ekint.org/ekint/ekint.news.page?nodeid=159

        -- Ez a minimum a korrupció ellen [This is the minimum against corruption], NGO campaign against corruption. http://ezaminimum.hu/minimumpontok/1-p%C3%A1rt-%C3%A9s-kamp%C3%A1nyfinansz%C3%ADroz%C3%A1s.html

        Reviewer's sources: The listed prices for advertisement on the webpage of the State Audit Office; URL: http://www.asz.hu/valasztas The National Elections can be viewed in the block "Országgy?lési Választás 2014"

        The recommendations of the Transparency International; URL: http://www.transparency.hu/uploads/docs/4Azoptimliskampanyszablyozasalapelvei.pdf

        "Fogalmam sincs, mekkora összegeket költöttek a kampányra" - Interjú Kovács Árpáddal, az Állami Számvev?szék elnökével, 03/10/2002, Magyar Narancs ["I don't have a clue how much the parties spent on their campaigns" - Interview with Árpád Kovács, President of the SAO]; URL: http://magyarnarancs.hu/belpol/fogalmamsincsmekkoraosszegeketkoltottekakampanyrakovacsarpadazallamiszamvevoszekeln-63767

Hungary has a unicameral legislature in which Parliament is composed of 199 representatives. 106 of the representatives are elected in single-member constituencies through majoritarian contests, and 93 are distributed through a proportional system with a 5% threshold for parties receiving seats.

The election is a one-round elenction where every eligible person cast his/her vote on a candidate of his/her single-member constituency and one party list (a list of the party with the intended representatives on it).

In the single-member constituencies the candidate with the most votes will be the MP.

In the proportional system not only the directly cast votes are calculated, but a party get the votes of all his losing candidates in the single-member constituencies plus all the superfluous votes from its winning candidates. (This is a system of two contrary mechanism: The losing candidates carry over their votes as compensating votes in order to help their party to get into the Parliament and helping a more equal representation, while the winning candidates carry over their votes to support their parties majority, thus providing more to the stable governing. The superfluous votes are all the unnecessary votes of the victory, thus every vote above the candidate with the second most votes plus 1.)

Another unique attribute of the electoral system is the votes of Hungarians with double citizenship. In the surrounding countires many Hungarian live as an ethnic group and they have the opportunity to apply for a Hungarian citizenship via simplified process. They can only vote for a list, but due to the number of these votes they can decide about 1 or 2 mandates. (In the results they appear as voting by postal ballot.)

The Prime Minister is the head of government, and is nominated for the position by the President, subject to election by Parliament. The most recent elections occurred in April of 2014.

Parliamentary elections are primarily funded by the state, as the candidates receive 1 million HUF for their campaign expenditures, while the parties receive funding based on how many candidates they have in the single-member constituencies. The campaign expenditures are capped at 5 million HUF per candidate, so each party can use its own resources to spend more than the state support.

The President is the official head of state with middle-strong powers. Parliament elects the president every five years. Its role in the elections can be crucial, as he asks the leader of one of the parties to form government and can choose any leader. Although in the past it was always clear which party has the highest chance to form a stable government, this power can become essential in a tight result.

The 2014 elections were the first one after enacting the new acts on the process of elections, thus it was interesting to see how the new rules influence the political activities and the power relations of the parties. As the result of the elections, the ruling coalition maintained its absolute majority in the Parliament, the Fidesz-KDNP got 133 seats from the available 199. The second most seats was obtained by the alliance of five parties (MSZP, Együtt, DK, PM and MLP) with 38 seats, while the Jobbik received 23 seats. The smallest party that got into the Parliament was LMP with 5 seats.

During the elections many flaws of the current regulation materialized, and the higher number of political parties did not lead to a more diverse Parliament.

As as sidenote the ethnicities also have the chance to delegate a representative to the Parliament. Members of ethnicities can opt for voting for their ethnic list instead of a party list, and if the given ethnicity achieve a calculated quota they can have a representative with vote in the Parliament. If they do not achieve the quota they can send a representative without vote to the Parliament.