Govt Bill On Election Campaign Billboards Fails

  • 15 Jun 2017 9:00 AM
Govt Bill On Election Campaign Billboards Fails
The government bill seeking to prevent all political advertisements on billboards outside of the official campaign period failed to receive the two-thirds majority needed to pass. The bill also stipulated that in the campaign period, all political players should be charged the same for the use of advertising surfaces.

The bill had been proposed by leader of the ruling Fidesz party’s parliamentary group, Lajos Kósa, together with three other Fidesz MPs, who said that the proposal aimed to thwart covert attempts by “billionaires trying to influence Hungarian politics” and to ensure transparency.

Green opposition LMP’s co-leader Ákos Hadházy told the press after the decision that LMP had voted against the bill “because it had nothing in common with LMP’s original proposal”.

The party’s original bill submitted in April this year would have completely banned billboard advertising by state-owned companies and institutions, and would have expanded the bill to include all forms of advertising.

Socialist group leader Bertalan Tóth welcomed the outcome of the parliamentary vote, saying that if the law had passed this would have left a loophole open for the government and the local authority to circumvent the ban, since the [pro-government Civil Unity Forum] CÖF and [Fidesz youth arm] Fidelitas would not have not been covered by the law. János Volner, group leader of radical nationalist Jobbik, said that Fidesz had “lost an important battle”.

Jobbik has maintained an antigovernment billboard campaign with the backing of Lajos Simicska, a onetime friend of the prime minister’s and a former key figure of the Fidesz party. The construction magnate and media mogul has fallen out with Viktor Orbán and the Fidesz party.

The ruling party is “scared to death” that the opposition could win and they would be held accountable for “stealing left and right”, Volner said.

Fidesz group leader Lajos Kósa said that in rejecting the bill, “the entire opposition voted for corruption”. From here on, all opposition proposals regarding corruption are discredited, he said.

Republished with permission of Hungary Matters, MTI’s daily newsletter.

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