A Do-Over for Istanbul: Gripping Electoral Law and Democratic Resilience

On 31 March 2019, Turkey’s municipal elections resulted in a shock defeat for the ruling AK Party of president Erdoğan in the overwhelming majority of metropolitan cities. The Supreme Electoral Board canceled the Istanbul election soon after by announcing its reasoning on 22 May. The entire process illustrates how the AK Party has been adjusting the electoral law in a way that has now resulted in the cancellation and re-run of Istanbul’s mayoral election.

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#DeniedMyVote too: Brits in France, the European Elections and the Council of State

European Elections Day in the United Kingdom has been stained by revelations that many EU citizens were unable to vote due to various clerical errors, widely reported on Twitter with the hashtag #DeniedMyVote. It seems that something along the same lines, though on a smaller scale, happened to UK citizens residing in other Member States of the European Union, for example in France.

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Systemic Error – On Hungary’s Extension of European Voting Rights to Non-Resident Citizens

Last December, the Hungarian legislator adopted a rule that allows non-EU-resident Hungarian citizens to vote at the European Parliament elections. This rule is in line with a 2018 Council decision. Implementation done, EU conformity secured, nothing to see here. Or is there?

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How to Abolish Democracy: Electoral System, Party Regulation and Opposition Rights in Hungary and Poland

When it comes to Poland and Hungary, everyone is talking about the judiciary, about the independence of the courts, about the rule of law. But hardly anyone talks about parliaments. Yet they are at the heart of our democracies. And they are no less at risk. This became clear in the third panel of our workshop, which dealt with the electoral system, party regulation and opposition rights in Hungary and Poland. What may sound technical at first glance are surprisingly effective instruments in the hands of autocrats. It is precisely with these instruments that the governments of both countries have set the course for a “democracy” that primarily benefits the ruling parties and undermines political plurality.

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"Only Fidesz" – Minority Electoral Law in Hungary

Hungary is holding parliamentary elections on 8th April. While the systemic deficiencies of the Hungarian electoral system have received international attention, the present Hungarian regulation and the practice of minority and extraterritorial citizen voting also create several possibilities for abuse. Hidden behind the façade of multiparty elections, nation building and minority rights, the current system serves as an instrument to keep the government in power.

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Who will Count the Votes in Poland?

In the shadow of an international outcry concerning a grotesque and speech-restrictive Polish law which would punish anyone attributing to Polish nation co-responsibility for crimes during the 2nd World War, a much more dangerous change has been quietly brought about, and just completed. A change which gives the ruling party Law and Justice (PiS) necessary mechanisms to “control” the election outcomes. To put it bluntly – a change of the electoral system which will make it possible for PiS to commit electoral fraud allowing it to stay in power, regardless of the voters’ preferences.

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