And nothing happens...

25% of voting stations won’t have a non-Fidesz delegate on Sunday

25% of voting stations (that’s 2495) won’t have any non-Fidesz delegates in Sunday’s EP-elections. The reason is mixed. 

Opposition parties are wildly discouraged (by Fidesz) to coordinate. So no opposition delegates in 2495 voting stations – but multiple delegates in others.

But it is also telling that it’s difficult to get someone to take on “anti-Fidesz” duties in small villages. And being a delegate of any other party is such an anti-Fidesz declaration, it amounts to outing yourself as anti-Orbán.

The smaller the village, the harder it is to recruit opposition delegates because people know each other and remember who’s traitor. And the best an openly admitted opposition sympathizer can hope for is that nothing bad happens to her for the years to come. But they will certainly not get a government contract, public service job or even a place in the public work program, and neither do their families. In villages, Fidesz mayors are the biggest employers, the masters of the public work program, and thus masters of life and starvation. They had 9 years to learn this lesson.

In April 2018 I received so many questions about the upcoming general elections under Orbán that I decided to write about it in advance. I explained how everything had been set up for Fidesz in advance to win unfairly – but the actual counting of the ballots will be clean. We are not Russia, after all. We have neutral public servants, not to mention party delegates.

But I was wrong. And so were the non-Fidesz parties who have neglected sending delegates into a third of voting stations because they – just like me – thought that it wouldn’t be necessary.

By the time the voting closed, I had severe doubts about the cleanliness of the vote counting – and it got worse over the following weeks. In fact, 37% of Hungarians thought that the election result weren’t just manipulated – they were manipulated enough to change the outcome. And the razor thin margin of Orbán’s supermajority (that was much smaller than the scope of proven manipulation) had only made that suspicion worse.

But whether Orbán won by his own election law or by cheating, the result is the same: widespread apathy and the sense of helplessness. The certainty that not even your petty vote matters anymore. Not even in a jilted system that legally prefers Orbán, not even in the overwhelming media advantage of Orbán. There is nothing you can do – so why resist?

Moving on to the EP-elections coming up this Sunday, Unhack Democracy Europe had published the result of their research with new evidence that the voting was not just suspiciously incompetent, but brazenly ridden with fraud – and that it had been more than enough to secure Orbán his third damaging supermajority.

And with that supermajority, Orbán went on to shove the hitherto independent courts into irrelevance by setting up his own court system. And with that, there isn’t anyone left in this country who could call out an OfFidesz politician or a crony for a crime. Orbán might even have his own Ibiza video leaked and nothing would happen. His followers wouldn’t even hear of it, thanks to the “Orbanized” media landscape. And even if they did, there isn’t a single policeman or prosecutor who would draw charges. And if they did, there wouldn’t be a judge to take it from there.

There certainly isn’t anyone who could challenge election fraud. It didn’t work after 2018, it won’t work after the EP-elections this Sunday.

Where, once again, there won’t be any non-Fidesz delegates or non-dependent public servants present at the voting and at the counting at 25% of the voting stations.

They have already announced that they will take four hours after the voting closed to release any data – the same kind of news moratorium they have used in April 2018. This time it is because of Italy so they won’t have to come up with any excuses. Not that they tried very hard in April 2018.

The votes that can be cast by Serbian and Ukrainian citizens at the EP-elections will also be mostly for Orbán. If nothing else, then because of the opaque handling of the mail votes. It had happened last year – and they have already received a letter from the Hungarian government to remind them they can cast their votes in the European Election, thanks to their Orbán-awarded Hungarian citizenship – despite neither living, nor paying taxes in the European Union. By early May 115 thousand of them had registered to vote, 85 thousand of them via mail – promising a few extra seats for Orbán’s party.

But Orbán has other tools, many of them rooted in the fact that by 2019, most of the country is personally dependent on him. And they know it.

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