As announced by the Ordo Iuris Institute and its partner, Collegium Intermarium University in Warsaw on 16 March, an international observer mission will be deployed to the Hungarian elections.
The duties of election observers are performed by the representatives of academic research institutes, think tanks, social organizations, lawyers and journalists from five European countries, beginning on 24th of March. In the coming days, members of the mission will meet face-to-face, hold round-table discussions and do fieldwork to learn more about the Hungarian elections and try to get a full picture of the electoral system using all relevant sources. For information on assessing the situation of the media and public debate, observers will ask, among others, NGOs and leading media.
The International Observation Mission adopted the following Declaration of Principles, based on the best international practices:
- Impartiality and non-interference.
- Accuracy and verifiability of conclusions.
- Compliance with domestic law and culture.
- Neutrality and professionalism in media appearances.
- Formulation of recommendations, not accusations.
According to the issued statement of the mission, the Declaration of Principles became necessary due to the publication of the Interim Report (24 February – 15 March 2022) of OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights Election Observation Mission. The publication was immediately weaponized by one side as evidence international criticism of their political competitors. At the same time, serious allegations of inaccuracy, factual errors and partiality were made against the Interim Report, which – according to the critics – failed to present balanced and constructive opinions, presenting the position and arguments of only one side of the polarized political debate in Hungary, without referencing reliable and verifiable sources.
Upon careful examination, the OSCE Interim Report indicates many signs of violation of the principles of international observation missions. In a highly objectionable manner, the reports often rely on unnamed sources or on the opinion of only one political side in regard to expressed criticism of the Hungarian electoral system. As a result, the presented claims and allegations regarding the election process are legitimately questioned, and the authority of the observation mission has been severely tarnished.
We must remember that the function of an election observer is above all a great responsibility – it strengthens democratic institutions, builds public confidence in electoral processes and helps to stop electoral irregularities. Especially after heavily criticized OSCE Interim Report, we need to regain credibility of international observation missions. And we are ready to take the lead in following the best practices, international standards and principles of impartial, democratic and respectful elections observation. All to support the Hungarian people in the act of democratic elections – states att. Jerzy Kwaśniewski, Head of International Observation Mission.