1990 Hungarian parliamentary election

The 1990 Hungarian parliamentary elections were held in Hungary on 25 March 1990, with a second round of voting taking place in all but five single member constituencies on 8 April.[1] They were the first completely free and competitive elections to be held in the country since 1945, and only the second completely free elections with universal suffrage in the country's history. The conservative, nationalist Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF) beat the liberal and more internationalist Alliance of Free Democrats, which had spearheaded opposition to Communist rule in 1989, to become the largest party in parliament. The Hungarian Socialist Party, the former Communist party, suffered a crushing defeat, winning only 33 seats for fourth place.

1990 Hungarian parliamentary election

← 1985 25 March 1990 (first round)
8 April 1990 (second round)
1994 →

All 386 seats to the Országgyűlés
194 seats needed for a majority
Turnout65.11% (first round)
45.54% (second round)
  First party Second party Third party
  Portrait of József Antall, Jr.tif Tölgyessy Péter cropped.jpg Vörös Vince 1990.jpg
Leader József Antall Péter Tölgyessy Vince Vörös
Party MDF SZDSZ FKGP
Leader since 21 October 1989 [a] 23 March 1989
Seats won
1R vote and % 1,186,791 (23.9%) 1,082,965 (21.8%) 529,299 (10.7%)
2R vote and % 1,406,277 (41.6%) 1,055,449 (31.2%) 358,360 (10.6%)
Party vote 1,214,359 1,050,799 576,315
% 24.73% 21.40% 11.73%

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
  Ünnepi Könyvhét 2012 - 0003.JPG Orban Viktor Portrait.jpg Keresztes Sandor col.jpg
Leader Imre Pozsgay Viktor Orbán Sándor Keresztes
Party MSZP Fidesz KDNP
Leader since [b] [c] 30 September 1989
Seats won
[d]
1R vote and % 504,995 (10.2%) 235,611 (4.8%) 287,614 (5.8%)
2R vote and % 216,561 (6.4%) 90,564 (2.7%) 126,636 (3.7%)
Party vote 535,064 439,649 317,278
% 10.89% 8.95% 6.46%

1990 Hungarian parliamentary election - Results.svg
Results of the election. Proportional list results are displayed in the top left.

Prime Minister before election

Miklós Németh
MSZP

Elected Prime Minister

József Antall
MDF

MDF leader József Antall became prime minister in coalition with the Christian Democratic People's Party and Independent Smallholders' Party. It was the first government since the end of World War II with no Communist participation.

BackgroundEdit

Hungary's transition to a Western-style democracy was one of the smoothest among the former Soviet bloc. By late 1988, activists within the party and bureaucracy and Budapest-based intellectuals were increasing pressure for change. Some of these became reformist social democrats, while others began movements which were to develop into parties. Young liberals formed the Federation of Young Democrats (Fidesz); a core from the so-called Democratic Opposition formed the Association of Free Democrats (SZDSZ), and the national opposition established the Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF).

Among the organized opposition, Round Table Talks began in March 1989, a series of formalized, orderly and highly legalistic discussions, inspired by the Polish model. At that point, longtime leader János Kádár had been removed from power for almost a year, and the Communists' Central Committee that month admitted the necessity of a multiparty system, with various groups like Fidesz and the Alliance of Free Democrats (SzDSz) having emerged.[2] Mass demonstrations on March 15, the National Day, persuaded the regime to begin negotiations with the emergent non-Communist political forces. A week later, these new movements, at the initiative of the Independent Lawyers’ Forum, formed the Opposition Round Table (Ellenzéki Kerekasztal, EKA), designed to prevent the Communists from trying to maintain power by dividing the opposition, and to establish some degree of unity in the face of the regime’s own reform agenda.[3] The table was composed of a small number of elite organizations, whose grassroots links were poorly developed and whose very existence stemmed in part from the collaboration of key Communist reformers. Specifically, it involved the SzDSz, Fidesz, the Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF), the Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKgP), the Hungarian People’s Party (MNP), the Endre Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Society, and the Democratic Trade Union of Scientific Workers. At a later stage the Democratic Confederation of Free Trade Unions and the Christian Democratic People's Party (KNDP) were invited.[4]

In October 1989, the ruling Communist Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party (MSZMP) convened its last congress and re-established itself as the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP), which branded itself as a Western European-style social democratic party. In a historic session from 16 October to 20 October, the parliament adopted legislation providing for multi-party parliamentary elections and a direct presidential election. The legislation changed Hungary's official name from the People's Republic of Hungary to the Republic of Hungary, guaranteed human and civil rights, and created an institutional structure that ensured separation of powers among the judicial, legislative, and executive branches of government.

An agreement was reached involving six draft laws that covered an overhaul of the Constitution, establishment of a Constitutional Court, the functioning and management of political parties, multiparty elections for National Assembly deputies, the penal code and the law on penal procedures (the last two changes represented an additional separation of the Party from the state apparatus).[3][5] The electoral system was a compromise: about half of the deputies would be elected proportionally and half by the majoritarian system.[6] A weak presidency was also agreed upon, but no consensus was attained on who should elect the president (parliament or the people) and when this election should occur (before or after parliamentary elections). Initially, the opposition was united in wanting the president elected by parliament after new elections to ensure parliamentary supremacy and minimise the MSzMP’s power.[7] Then, faced with Communist concessions, the relatively weak opposition split, as at least three moderate groups (including KNDP and MDF) signed the Round Table agreement and implicitly accepted Pozsgay as president while the radicals (notably Fidesz and the SzDSz) refused to do so. After a burst of negotiations, fully free elections were scheduled for March 1990, in contrast to the semi-free elections held in Poland in June 1989.[8]

Electoral systemEdit

Of the 386 seats in the National Assembly, 176 were elected from single member constituencies, 120 from multi-member constituencies and a further 90 from "compensatory" national seats.[9]

ResultsEdit

Party SMCs MMCs National
seats
Total
seats
Votes % Seats Votes % Seats
Hungarian Democratic Forum 1,186,791 23.9 114 1,213,820 24.7 40 10 164
Alliance of Free Democrats 1,082,965 21.8 35 1,050,440 21.4 34 23 92
Independent Smallholders' Party 529,299 10.7 11 576,256 11.7 16 17 44
Hungarian Socialist Party 504,995 10.2 1 534,897 10.9 14 18 33
Christian Democratic People's Party 287,614 5.8 3 317,183 6.5 8 10 21
Fidesz 235,611 4.8 1 439,448 9.0 8 12 21
Patriotic Electoral Coalition 157,798 3.2 0 91,910 1.9 0 0 0
Agrarian Alliance 139,240 2.8 1 154,003 3.1 0 0 1
Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party 131,444 2.7 0 180,899 3.7 0 0 0
Hungarian Social Democratic Party 104,010 2.1 0 174,409 3.6 0 0 0
Entrepreneurs' Party 82,518 1.7 0 92,684 1.9 0 0 0
Hungarian People's Party 38,647 0.8 0 37,047 0.8 0 0 0
SZDSZFidesz 23,702 0.5 2 0 2
Green Party of Hungary 19,434 0.4 0 17,951 0.4 0 0 0
ASZSZFV 12,958 0.3 1 0 1
ASZHVK 12,926 0.3 0 0 0
National Smallholders' and Civic Party 12,366 0.3 0 9,944 0.2 0 0 0
Independent Social Democratic Party 7,564 0.2 0 0 0
KDNPFideszSZDSZ 6,473 0.1 1 0 1
Somogy County Christian Coalition 5,029 0.1 0 5,966 0.1 0 0 0
Hungarian Cooperative and Agrarian Party 5,882 0.1 0 4,945 0.1 0 0 0
Tedisz–Fédisz 3,759 0.1 0 0 0
Independent Hungarian Democratic Party 4,640 0.1 0 2,954 0.1 0 0 0
Freedom Party 4,342 0.1 0 2,814 0.1 0 0 0
MSZPASZ 2,255 0.1 0 0 0
Hungarian Independence Party 2,129 0.0 0 2,143 0.0 0 0 0
Alliance for the Village and Countryside 3,092 0.1 0 0 0
Holy Crown Society 1,906 0.0 0 0 0
Party of Generations, Party of Pensioners and Families 1,762 0.0 0 0 0
MSZPHVK 1,589 0.0 0 0 0
Alliance for the Protection of Nature and Society 1,284 0.0 0 0 0
Hungarian Workers' Democratic Center Party 973 0.0 0 0 0
Party for Rural Hungary 690 0.0 0 0 0
Social Democratic Party of Hungarian Gypsies 613 0.0 0 0 0
People of the Orient Party – Christian Democrats 346 0.0 0 0 0
Independents 342,674 6.9 6 6
Invalid/blank votes 96,109 172,136
Total 5,055,429 100 176 5,081,849 100 120 90 386
Registered voters/turnout 7,798,827 65.0 7,822,661 65.1
Source: Nohlen & Stöver 2010

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Tölgyessy was lead candidate of SZDSZ, but was not party leader.
  2. ^ Pozsgay was lead candidate of MSZP, but was not party leader.
  3. ^ Orbán was lead candidate of Fidesz, but was not party leader.
  4. ^ Including 2 deputies elected as joint Fidesz–SZDSZ candidates and one deputy elected as a joint Fidesz–KDNP–SZDSZ candidate.

ReferencesEdit

SourcesEdit

  • Butler, David; Ranney, Austin (1994), Referendums Around the World: The Growing Use of Direct Democracy, American Enterprise Institute, ISBN 0-8447-3853-0.
  • De Nevers, Renée (2003), Comrades No More: The Seeds of Change in Eastern Europe, MIT Press, ISBN 0-262-54129-7.
  • Elster, Jon; Offe, Claus; Preuss, Ulrich K (1998), Institutional Design in Post-communist Societies, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-47931-2.
  • Falk, Barbara J (2003), The Dilemmas of Dissidence in East-Central Europe, Central European University Press, ISBN 963-9241-39-3.
  • Grzymała-Busse, Anna Maria (2002), Redeeming the Communist Past: The Regeneration of Communist Parties in East Central Europe, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-00146-3.
  • Heenan, Patrick; Lamontagne, Monique (1999), The Central and Eastern Europe Handbook, Taylor & Francis, ISBN 1-57958-089-0
  • Nohlen, Dieter; Stöver, Philip (2010). Elections in Europe: A data handbook. ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7.

External linksEdit