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KÚRIA ORDERS RECOUNT OF ALL VOTES IN BUDAPEST MAYORAL ELECTION

 

Hungary’s Supreme Court, the Kúria, has ordered a recount of all votes cast in last month’s election for Budapest mayor. In line with the ruling which partially amended an earlier decision by the National Election Committee, all votes submitted at the mayoral election must be re-examined and recounted, and the results of the election announced based on the recount. The Kúria ruling cannot be appealed. The Constitutional Court on Friday scrapped as unconstitutional a June 26 ruling by the Kúria, which had okayed the results of the June 9 mayoral election in Budapest, and ordered the Kúria to make a new decision.
Budapest’s mayor, Gergely Karácsony, has said he would regard a recount of votes cast in last month’s mayoral election as “an attempt at electoral fraud”, in the absence of certain “guarantees”. Karácsony, who ran for re-election as a joint candidate of the Dialogue-Greens, Democratic Coalition and Socialist parties, told a press conference that there were four specific guarantees that he expected to be met, otherwise the recount could be interpreted as “a clear attempt at electoral fraud”. The first, he said, was that ballot boxes and the ballots themselves could not be “taken anywhere” or opened without delegates of the National Election Committee (NVB) present. His second demand was that opposition NVB delegates also had to be present for the opening of the ballot boxes and ballots. The third necessary guarantee, he said, was that the opening of the ballot boxes and the recount must be done in public “with even the most-minute details documented”. Finally, he called for the opportunity to delegate additional observers.
At a meeting on Monday, the NVB decided that the votes cast for mayoral candidates will have to be recounted and reviewed at the local election offices. The body also decided that ballots whose validity is in doubt will have to be sent in to the NVB for review. Members of the press will be allowed to be present for the recount and reviews, they said. Robert Sasvári, the head of the committee, said close to 800,000 votes will have to be recounted, and a final decision is expected by Friday morning.