M. Balázs Ágnes: Nationality Spokespersons’ Activity and Their Impact on Parliament Agenda in Hungary

Abstract: The claim of nationalities in Hungary for parliamentary representation occurred since the change of regime in 1989. Moreover, a law ensuring special representation to them had been adopted in 1990 but put out of effect before its application. Although the claim of the nationalities for special parliamentary representation never disappeared, an amendment of the Constitution was adopted only in 2010, but it never entered into force. The 2011 electoral law ensured a special parliamentary representation to nationalities. According to this law voters can cast two votes: one on a candidate in a single-member constituency one on a national list. National lists may be party lists or nationality lists. If votes cast on a nationality list meet a certain preferential quota, one preferential mandate can be obtained. If a nationality list does not meet this quota, the first candidate on the list represents the national minority as a nationality spokesperson having less competence than MPs. After the adoption of this law, some were concerned about that this Act would not ensure effective representation to the nationalities. During the 2014 general elections, registration data and the attendance of minority voters strengthened these concerns. No special minority mandate had been acquired, so the nationalities are represented in the Parliament merely by nationality spokespersons. Did the nationalities have any chance to acquire any parliamentary mandate? Can they influence legislation? Do they have a role in parliament agenda setting? Did the budgetary subsidy ensured for nationalities and nationality self-governments increase? How broad activity do the nationality spokespersons compared to their rights perform in the Parliament? How many of the committee of nationalities’ proposals are adopted? Do nationality spokespersons use questions differently than MPs? This paper is aimed at finding the answers to all of these questions.

Language: english

The manuscript is available here.