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EACEA National Policies Platform


5. Participation

5.1 General context

Last update: 28 November 2023
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  1. Main Concepts
  2. Institutions of representative democracy

Main concepts

Active participation is a crucial element of transition from youth to adulthood. Active participation has several forms, among others:

  • civic participation,
  • cultural engagement in politics or
  • active online presence.
Parliamentary elections

'In a democracy, electoral freedom is a fundamental right'. [About the State of Hungary (a magyar államról)]

In Hungary, parliamentary elections are held every four years, while local elections and elections to the European Parliament are held every five years. According to the Fundamental Law, all Hungarian citizens of legal age (18 years) have the right to vote and to be elected. The election is held by secret and direct ballot.

The right to vote or its full exercise depends on the place of residence. The court may prohibit persons who have committed a criminal offence or whose capacity to act is impaired from exercising the right to vote.

Since the last amendment to the electoral law, the National Assembly has 199 seats instead of the previous 386. 106 seats are elected in single-member constituencies, and the other 93 seats are allocated on the basis of national lists. The electoral system consists of one round of voting. While a simple majority is sufficient for the single-member constituency to enter the National Assembly (relative majority voting system), a 5% hurdle must be reached in proportional representation via the national lists [National Election Office (Nemzeti Választási Iroda)]

Institutions of representative democracy

According to the Fundamental Law of Hungary,

'Hungary is an independent, democratic constitutional state, its form of government is a parliamentary republic.'

The central decision-making body is the parliament. [The Hungarian Parliament/National Assembly (az Országgyűlés)] The Government holds the supreme executive power while jurisdiction is exercised by the courts. At the local level, the local governments ensure the representation of citizens.

Parliament/National Assembly

'Parliament is the supreme state power and representation of people.' [About the State of Hungary (a magyar államról)]

In direct and secret elections, the members of the Parliament are elected for 4 years by the citizens, who have an equal and universal right to vote. The current Parliament/National Assembly (with 199 members) has been operating since 2 May 2022, its main scene of operation is the plenary session where all members are together. Its tasks, among others include legislation, the adoption of the state budget the approval of its execution, the election of various public dignitaries and the Prime Minister. [The Hungarian Parliament (az országgyűlés)]

President of the Republic

'The President of the Republic is the public dignitaries in Hungary who shall safeguard the democratic operation of the state.' [About the State of Hungary (a magyar államról)]

He or she is elected for 5 years. His/her main duties are the following: introduction of new laws, preliminary examination of laws for conformity with the Fundamental Law, return of laws to Parliament for reconsideration, nomination, dismissal and appointment of various public dignitaries. The President of the Republic also has a role in monitoring Parliament.

Main executive body

The main executive body is the Government, which consists of the Prime Minister and the ministers responsible for running the various ministries that deal with different public policies. [About the State of Hungary (a magyar államról)] The Government is accountable by the Parliament and it acts on behalf of the majority [The Hungarian Parliament (az országgyűlés)]. It is the main body of public administration. The absolute majority of the Parliament elects the Prime Minister.

Constitutional Court

The Constitutional Court of Hungary (Alkotmánybíróság) is the main body protecting the Fundamental Law.

'The Constitutional Court operates independently from the general court and its main task is to protect the Fundamental Law.' [About the State of Hungary (a magyar államról)]

The Parliament elects the fifteen members of the Court with qualified majority (the vote of two-thirds of all members) for a term of twelve years. In the Hungarian judicial system (bírósági szervezetrendszer) the courts are responsible for administering justice. They decide in criminal and civil cases, and they are also responsible for the administration of justice in public administration. The Curia is the highest judicial authority in Hungary. It decides whether a decision of the regional court is in conflict with the law and if so, it annuls the decision of the regional court.

Local self-government

In Hungary, the community of citizens of local settlements has the right of local self-governance which means that the local public issues can be handled democratically by the local public authority according to the interest of the inhabitants. The law may define the rights and responsibilities of the local governments. The local governments are independent of the central power, protected by the Fundamental Law of Hungary. [The local government system and the officials (2011. évi CLXXXIX. törvény); Fundamental Exam of Administrative Basics (Alapvizsga)]

The tasks and responsibilities of the local self-government [Municipal administration (Önkormányzati igazgatás 2018)] are practised by the board member representatives and it is led by the mayor. The citizens elect the board member representatives through direct and secret elections, the citizens have equal and universal suffrage. The local governments and the state authorities and bodies cooperate for the sake of the community goals.