Broad-Based Oppositions in Hungary and Yugoslavia

5497 Words22 Pages
Broad-based Oppositions in Hungary and Yugoslavia No two countries in East Central Europe share the same experience of Communism. Parallels can be drawn between countries, groupings can be made and put into tiers, and data can be compared. But each country has a unique past which continues to make itself felt in the present day, despite the common direction the countries are taking towards a free market economy and multi-party democracy. Hungary, for example, has a more westward-leaning tradition than Yugoslavia does. Though their alliance with the Hapsburg Monarchy may have hindered the development of institutions of self-governance and a modern economy, that same tradition with Austria probably also helped it usher in the changes of 1989 more swiftly than many of its neighbors. The debate is still going on as to whether the Austrians did more harm than good for the country, but one thing is clear: Hungary has enjoyed a far less painful transition than many of its neighbors, including Yugoslavia. A comparison of the overall transition since 1989 in the two countries lies well beyond the scope of this paper; I intend, however, to look at the election systems, the most recent election outcomes and the major political powers in place in Hungary and Yugoslavia and draw some similarities between the opposition coalitions were formed. In Hungary, all citizens above the age of 18 are eligible to vote. Though there are no controversial language requirements, voters must be in the country on the day of the election in order to participate. Hungarians traveling abroad for business or on vacation are excluded, as are those temporarily living in another country; there is no system in place similar to the American absentee ballot system that allows them to cast their vote if they find themselves beyond Hungary's borders on election day. Prisoners and those permanently residing in medical institutions are also excluded. Only those citizens making a positive and active contribution to society, then, have the privilege of casting a vote. The implication inherent in this law that Hungarians living or working overseas at the time of the election are not making any such contribution. The outcome of national elections for Hungary's legislature is determined by a complex combination of simple majority and proportional representation systems. Of the 386 seats in the unicameral legislature, 176 are chosen from single-member constituencies and 152 are chosen from 20 distinct territorial multi-member constituencies, which follow the administrative county lines (in Hungarian megye, county).

More about Broad-Based Oppositions in Hungary and Yugoslavia

Open Document