Election 2022

So what happened?

We now have decisive proof that Orbán can not be beaten within his own system.

In the 2019 municipal elections Orbán’s attention lapsed and the opposition won half the major cities. It seemed like a chance has materialized and maybe the opposition can grab it and unseat Orbán at his own game in 2022.

After the 2019 municipal elections Orbán went all out to punish the opposition cities. He deprived them of tax revenues and banned new taxes, loaded them with debt and extra public tasks to perform. He didn’t make it a secret that he was teaching a lesson to the voters: They can only vote for him if they want to survive.

OPPOSITION: We have to win despite this.

By 2018 over a million new Hungarian passports are handed out by Orbán in neighboring countries in order get their votes.

By 2022 the number only got higher – and even thousands of dead voters were sent voting sheets as the election office only checks if they are still alive every ten years.

OPPOSITION: We have to win despite this.

Orbán changes the election system to force opposition parties to create a coalition with a shared candidate – even before the election. It also forces the far right Jobbik to team up with the non-right opposition parties. (It proved to be lethal to both and Orbán’s very own pet nazis, a brand new party, won nearly 6% and got into parliament as a consequence.)

OPPOSITION: We have to win despite this.

Orbán changes the law to allow vote tourism.

OPPOSITION: We have to win despite this.

At the 2022 election Hungarian passport holders in neighboring countries were allowed to vote by mail because they have no ties to the country like a registered address. They are 96+% Fidesz voters (or so the results say) and nearly all of them get registered.

Expats with registered addresses in Hungary, on the other hand, are only allowed to vote in person at a very limited number of voting stations in their countries. They are only 11% Fidesz voters and only a fraction of them register – even fewer turn up to vote.

OPPOSITION arranges flights and travel for them to the voting stations and presses on that we have to win despite this.

The money spent on advertising on Fidesz’ side is virtually limitless. Not only do election authorities ignore the blurred lines between government propaganda and Fidesz adverts (while fining opposition parties for every tiny overspending) but Orbán even launches a “government information” campaign with the excuse of the homophobic referendum – held on the same day as the elections.

It tells voters a billion times a day that “we must protect our children” by voting ‘no’ at the referendum, and fill the country with Orbán’s face with the words “peace and safety” next to it. On the government’s dime because it’s for the referendum.

OPPOSITION: We have to win despite this.

Orbán/government/Fidesz billboards outnumber opposition ones 20:1 (or worse). It is difficult to say, but even in the middle of Budapest I only ever see the face of the opposition candidate on Fidesz’ black-and-white posters with the word “Dangerous” written over him. On the countryside there isn’t even that.

OPPOSITION: We have to win despite this.

Shrill campaign spending is also true on social media. It beats even American per capita spending – even though American eyeballs are way more expensive on social media. YouTube is basically only running government ads for weeks on Hungarian taxpayer money. Facebook is also choke full of the ads of the government, of Fidesz and of government-funded “independent” influencers who push the vilest government propaganda in all shapes and sizes, optimized for all tastes, 24/7, with their mouth frothing with hatemongering – and later accusations that the opposition wants war and cut off the gas and increase its price. But they are officially not counted to Fidesz’ spending.

OPPOSITION: We have to win despite this.

Orbán begins the biggest ever election giveaway in modern history. Taxes returned, 13th month pension, extra pension, another extra pension (because the economy is so great) – all timed 5 weeks before elections. Price caps on fuel, energy and food, an interest rate cap on mortgages and mortgage moratorium for others. (Read a longer list here.)

The budget is more than empty, the national debt rose to historic high, and who knows what awaits any government that follows Orbán’s.

OPPOSITION: We have to win despite this.

Orbán hands out tens of billion of euros’ worth of public assets and taxpayer money to loyalists through asset management “foundations”, buying loyalism and ensuring he has a massive foreign support by enticing western intellectuals with five-star treatment and lies about the real nature of his regime and economy.

OPPOSITION: We have to win despite this.

On the countryside citizens barely ever hear about the existence of the opposition. Yes, opposition candidates are touring the land back and forth, but the Orbán-controlled public and local media only ever mentions them to smear them and accuse them of 1) wanting to increase utility prices, 2) wanting to privatize healthcare, and after Putin’s war begins, 3) wanting a war and 4) wanting to cut off gas coming from Russia. (It is later confirmed in the voting stations that it was all they have ever learned about the opposition and it scared them.)

OPPOSITION tours the country like maniacs, tell voters that it’s not true, and says we have to win despite this.

The public broadcaster gives five (5!!!) whole minutes (!!!) to every opposition party during the entire campaign (and the entire years before that) due to an anomaly that happened in 2018.

OPPOSITION takes the five minutes like that is acceptable.

The electronic system of the elections is supplied by dodgy, Orbánist entities with a Russian thread all over the story.

OPPOSITION delegates members into the vote counting committees (something they have not done in 2018!) but knows nothing about the electronic system.

Orbán’s much-celebrated workfare system keeps the unemployed on their toes and dependent on the local mayors not to cut off their benefits. They fear the loss of their ever-decreasing benefits more than they are upset about the decrease.

Meanwhile, mayors learn (some of them the hard way) that if their village doesn’t vote for Fidesz – and with a massive, dictatorship-like majority – they get no money for the next four years.

OPPOSITION: We have to win despite this.

(This list goes on but I think you get the idea.)

The week before election day mail voting starts in neighboring countries but local Fidesz allies are delivering and collecting the mail votes. Reports about activists aggressively pressuring the voters before taking away their votes in unsecured envelopes to forward it to Budapest for them.

OPPOSITION: We have to win despite this.

Even where mail voters are allowed to put their own votes in the mail, it is collected by local Fidesz allies and then forwarded. No one is supervising the votes, sometimes even the cameras are covered in and near the rooms they are stored.

OPPOSITION: We have to win despite this.

No one pays attention to how the envelopes are handled, they are not secured in any way, and there is an abundance of similarly unchecked extra voting sheets.

OPPOSITION: We have to win despite this.

In Romania opposition votes are found discarded in a landfill. Tens of thousand sign a petition to have it investigated but the election office calls it a false flag attack by the opposition against itself and doesn’t investigate.

ELECTION AUTHORITIES shrug.

OPPOSITION: We have to win despite this.

People are allowed to mail vote for their family members.

OPPOSITION: We have to win despite this.

Come election day opposition says it is a 100-meter dash with a 50-meter head start for Orbán (and Orbán gets to decide who wins and how much).

OPPOSITION: We have to win despite this.

Reports and videos about chain voting, bussing voters being to emerge. Election office shrugs as it is not illegal in busses under a certain size, plus we only have videos to prove.

OPPOSITION: We have to win despite this.

Employers demand photo proof that their employees voted for Fidesz. Election office doesn’t see it proven.

OPPOSITION: We have to win despite this.

Photos of cars parking outside of voting stations, instructing voters and handing stuff in and out. Election office sees no evidence of anything.

OPPOSITION: We have to win despite this.

The price of a single vote for Fidesz goes up from 15 to 70 euros during the day. Election office doesn’t investigate.

OPPOSITION: We have to win despite this.

There were no counting irregularities inside the voting stations. But Orbán has a massively different idea of mobilization than his opposition: his people dragged anyone and anything through the doors of the voting station and made them vote Fidesz – even if they weren’t lucid or had no idea what is going on in the country.

The reason no one is contesting the elections even more is because the overall win was so high for Orbán. If the results were tighter, he would have to put work into it – this way all strength went out of his opponents. Lucky.

We now know beyond doubt that Hungarian elections can no longer be won against Orbán – only he can lose power in his own system. Or he can fall due to international reasons like the recession or the war. But we can not get rid of him through voting, not even if the opposition starts to lie as much as he does.

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