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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 youth rights and responsibilities are similar to citizens’ rights and responsibilities. Participating in elections – which is not mandatory – is young people’s primary democratic tool to influence society. (Youth Policy Review p. 38)

Who can vote?

Regarding the voting age, young people who are of full age have right to vote in elections meaning that they have reached the age of 18. Article XXIII. of the Fundamental Law of Hungary declares that in Hungary 'every adult Hungarian citizen shall have the right to vote and to be elected

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

  • as Member of the National Assembly,
  • as local government representative and mayor, and
  • as Member of the European Parliament.

Other laws can restrict the suffrage or its full exercise as a consequence of residence or other conditions.

Currently there is no plan to lower the voting age.

Other special regulations regarding special groups of young people

It is also the Fundamental Law 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.' (Fundamental Law)

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.

Voting or other forms of political participation

Empirical research (kutatás) that has been conducted before the 2010 election in Hungary state that the political affinity and the level of trust in political institutions among youth are relatively low.

'Hungarian youth prefer participation in elections over other forms of political participation; according to the ESS research [kutatás] they have become more active in elections since the elections of 2010. In comparison with the European Union average (79%), with 82%, Hungarian youth were on place no. 12 among the member states regarding the willingness to vote.'

Results of the Hungarian Youth research 2016

Since 2000, a questionnaire survey has been organised every four years among Hungarian youth. The last, representative survey was in 2016. 8000 young people (aged 15-29) were interviewed on several topics (e.g. family, education, work, social media, politics).

Several approaches can examine the question:

  • participation in elections (interest in going to vote?)
  • interest in politics
  • connections with political organisations

The results of the Hungarian Youth research (ifjúságkutatás 2016) showed the following:

​Participation in elections and interest in politics:

  • 55% of the respondents declared that they would most likely participate in elections,
  • 44% of youth are not interested at all and 20% of them are barely interested in politics,
  • 2-5% is the proportion of those who are particularly interested in politics,
  • Age and education fundamentally determine the attitudes of young people to politics: the younger, or the lower the education level of the respondent, the less interested in politics,
  • since the previous survey, the share of those with a democratic attitude has increased (55%).

Connections with a political organisation: 

  1. 25% of young people are related to an organisation / group. They are mainly related to sports clubs (11%) and then to student organisations (9%). 
  2. Organisations linked to politics are only in touch with a very narrow 1-2% of young people.

In conclusion, research results show, that the political interest of the Hungarian youth is low. 

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, every Hungarian citizen

'shall have the right to hold public office according to his or her aptitude, qualifications and professional competence.' [Article XXIII. of the Fundamental Law (Alaptörvény)]

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)