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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki
Hungary

Hungary

5. Participation

5.2 Youth participation in representative democracy

On this page
  1. Young people as voters
  2. Young people as political representatives

Young people as voters

The institutional and legal framework of the rights and duties of young people is similar to the rights and duties of citizens. Participation in elections - which is not compulsory - is the main democratic tool for young people to influence society. (Youth Policy Review p. 38)

Who can vote?

As far as voting age is concerned, young people of legal age have the right to vote in elections, which means that they have reached the age of 18. Article XXIII. of the Fundamental Law of Hungary states that in Hungary

'every adult Hungarian citizen shall have the right to vote and to be elected as members of the National Assembly (Parliament), as local government representatives and mayors, and as members of the European Parliament [Európai Parlament]'.

If an adult citizen of another Member State of the European Union has a valid residence permit in Hungary, he or she has the right to vote and to be elected for the mentioned positions. Other laws may restrict the right to vote or its full exercise as a consequence of residence or other conditions.

There are currently no plans to lower the voting age.

Regulations of special groups of young people

It is also the Fundamental Law of Hungary that declares the rights for adult members of special groups of society (including those who reached the age of 18).

'Every adult person recognised as a refugee, immigrant or resident in Hungary shall have the right to vote in elections of local government representatives and mayors.'

Those people who committed a crime or have limited capacity to act and therefore are prohibited by the court from exercising the right of suffrage cannot vote. Those young people cannot either vote who are adult citizens of another Member State of the European Union having a residence in Hungary but whose exercise of suffrage was prohibited in their country of citizenship.

Results of the Hungarian Youth 2020 research

A questionnaire survey of Hungarian youth has been conducted every four years since 2000. The last, representative survey took place in 2020 [Hungarian Youth 2020 (Magyar Fiatalok 2020)]. 8000 young people (aged 15-29) were interviewed on various topics (e.g. family, education, work, social media, politics).

​The results on the interest in politics has increased significantly among young people (the figure was 2.03 in 2016 and 2.43 in 2020). Young people's interest in public life has also increased in the last 4 years: in 2016, the 'value of interest in public life' was 2.46, in 2020 it was 2.91 (average on a 1-5 point scale). Since the last survey, the proportion of those who think democracy is the best political system has increased to 57%.

In 2020, 78% of young people told they used to talk about public issues with friends, in 2016, this proportion was 64%. 28% of them have a politically active friend. These young people are more interested in politics; they talk to their friends and families about politics and public life several times.

In conclusion, research results show, that the political interest of the Hungarian youth has increased in recent years.

Out of young people, university students (egyetemi hallgatók) are a significant group, since the student activity holds a significant influence on the behaviour of the 15-29 age group. According to the research conducted on them, 'nearly all offline political participation suppressed or stagnated throughout 4 years'. The amount of pro-democratic students significantly increased by 10 percentage points in the last 4 years.

Young people as political representatives

According to the Fundamental Law of Hungary, every Hungarian citizen

'shall have the right to hold public office according to his or her aptitude, qualifications and professional competence.'

There is not any specific law on how young people can participate in the activities of the different political parties; as a consequence, every political party handles the participation of young people differently, also in terms of their organisation structure. Youth organisations or youth affiliates of the political parties can be independent legal entities or they can be a part of the legal entity of the party as well, it is up to the political parties to decide. The youth affiliates of the present political parties at the Parliament are individual legal entities except for Jobbik where there is only a youth branch of the party.

Youth as candidates can participate in any local elections such as any other citizens of full age who are not prohibited by the court from the elections as a consequence of a criminal act or limited ability to act.

The proportion of young members (35 years old as a maximum) has increased since the elections in 2006. Their proportion within the different parties are variable, a reason behind the statistics can be the youth aspect of the party meaning the age of the party and the chances that it provides to its youth members. In the recent parliamentary elections (8th April 2018), the proportion of young MPs declined in the political groups of each party compared to the previous rounds. [Source: the officially published CVs of party members; Composition of the Parliament (Az országgyűlés összetétele)]

Parliamentary cycles

2018

2014-2018

2010-20142006 - 2010

No. of representatives (max)

199

percentage of youth (35 years old as a maximum)

199

percentage of youth (35 years old as a maximum)

385

percentage of youth (35 years old as a maximum)

385

percentage of youth (35 years old as a maximum)

 

 

7%

(14 people)

 

18%

(24 people)

 

16%

(62 people)

 

7,5%

 (29 people)

FIDESZ-KDNP

133

3%

(4 people)

133

5.26%

 (7 people)

263

7.9%

 (21 people)

164

5.4%

 (9 people)

MSZP or (MSZP-EGYÜTT-DK-PM-MLP) or (MSZP-Párbeszéd)

20

5%

(1 people)

38

15.7%,

(6 people)

59

13.5%

(8 people)

190

10.2%

(19 people)

JOBBIK

26

26.9%

(7 people)

23

47.8%

(11 people)

47

53.1%

(25 people)

-

-

LMP

8

22.2%

(2 people)

5

(0 people)

16

50%

(8 people)

-

-

DK

9

(0 people)

 

 

 

 

 

 

independent MPs and nationality MPs and (Együtt)

1+2

0%

(0 people)

 

 

 

 

 

 

MDF

 

 

-

-

-

-

11

9% (1 person)

SZDSZ

 

 

-

-

-

-

20

10% (2 people)