HISTORY - Milestones of the History of the Hungarian Parliament


1848
The first bicameral representative parliament replacing the former parliament of nobility is set up by the April Laws of 1848 (Act IV of 1848). The Members of Parliament are elected in constituencies, based on the census of property and education (Act V of 1848). The new parliament starts its work on 5 July in Buda. During the War of Independence (1848-1849) it is forced to move to other towns (Pest, Debrecen, Szeged and Arad). The last session in Arad is held on 11 August 1849.

1861
After having proclaimed the October Diploma, Austrian Emperor Francis Joseph convokes the Parliament on 6 April 1861 to settle the constitutional relations between Hungary and the emperor. He does not accept the Hungarian proposals and dissolves the Parliament 22 August 1861.

1865
The political and economic situation urges the ruler and Hungary to restore the Constitution and to settle relations. The Parliament reassembles on 14 December 1865 to prepare a Compromise.

1867
The Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, a bi-central dual state is established with a common monarch. Foreign affairs, defence and finance are declared as joint affairs. Austria and Hungary have their own bicameral parliaments. The power of the House of Magnates of the Hungarian Parliament is weaker and it is subordinated to the House of Representatives.

1874
The Act on Election Law of 1848 is amended. Emphasis is shifted from property ownership to the amount of tax paid. Elections are to be held every five years instead of the former three years.

1885
The House of Magnates of the Parliament is reformed. Some of its members hold office at the imperial court or in the central administration; fifty members are appointed by the monarch for life; dignitaries of the Catholic Church, Protestant Churches and the Eastern Orthodox Church are also included. An aristocratic man may be a member by birth in case he pays a certain amount of direct tax.

1902
The Houses of Parliament moves to a new building, designed by Imre Steindl. That has been the building of the Parliament ever since.
New election laws are adopted in 1913 and also in 1918 but they were not implemented because of the outbreak of World War I.

1918
In October a revolution breaks out in Budapest. At the end of World War I a number of new states come into being on the territory of what was the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. The Parliament votes to dissolve itself and for the next few months revolutionary governments issue statutes with sweeping consequences.

1919
In March Social Democrats and Communists seize power, declare the Hungarian Soviet Republic and form a Revolutionary Governing Council. At the same time the National Assembly of Councils takes place of parliament as the legislative body of the Republic of Councils; however it operates along completely different lines from traditional parliaments.

1920
A unicameral national assembly is elected through universal suffrage, which includes women, by secret ballot on 25-26 January. In consideration of the special historical circumstances, the elections are regulated in a decree (Decree of PM 5985/1919) not in a law. Later the suffrage is narrowed. The constituencies are separated into two groups: constituencies in rural areas and those in urban areas. Elections are held by an open vote and a secret vote, respectively. In major towns and Budapest voting is for party lists.

1922
First national elections are held as regulated by Government Decree 2200/1922. Census suffrage as based on property, tax paid and education is reintroduced. Voting in an open ballot is reestablished except for Budapest and some major towns.

1925
Act XXVI on National Elections, based on the above mentioned government decree is passed. In addition to Budapest and neighbouring localities, voting for lists is introduced in towns that return more than one MP.

1926
Act XII of 1926 restores the Upper House of the Parliament. Its members are state and church dignitaries, those elected by state institutions and a maximum of 40 persons appointed by the head of state. Its jurisdiction is narrower than it was earlier.

1938
The new Electoral Law (Act XIX of 1938) states universal voting by secret ballot. Outside Budapest voting is for individual candidates and for party lists. Constituents can vote according to different voting procedure for candidates and for lists (“double suffrage”). The conditions of eligibility become stricter.

1944
The unicameral Provisional National Assembly is convoked in Debrecen, a town that is controlled by the Soviet Red Army.

1945
Act VIII of 1945 introduces universal and equal suffrage by secret ballot. Votes are cast for party lists.
Parliamentary elections are held on 4 November 1945. Although the non-Communist parties wield majority in the Parliament, Soviet [Russian] authorities push through a “grand coalition government” that includes Communists.

1946
As of 1 February 1946, Hungary’s form of state is a republic instead of a kingdom.

1947
Early parliamentary elections are held 31 August 1947. The Soviet-backed Communist Party rigs elections results and stops at nothing to weaken democratic forces.

1949
At the parliamentary elections on 15 May 1949 voters have a single party list to choose from. The Communists seize full power. The National Assembly enacts a Stalinist Constitution (Act XX of 1949). The new form of state is a people’s republic. Until 1989 Hungary is a “socialist” country, in which the role of the Parliament is formal. The Presidential Council issues law-decrees. The Communist Party nominates candidates to Parliament. At parliamentary elections there is a single party list, later on “election” is from a single candidate in each constituency. Parliament was convoked rarely and for a few days only with the sole purpose of rubberstamping decisions of the Party.

1985
The electoral law is amended in such a way that the umbrella organization Patriotic People’s Front loses the monopoly it received from the Communist Party to put up candidates for Parliament. For the first time under socialism, 10.5% of the new Members of Parliament are returned without the People’s Front’s support.

1988
Epoch-making external and internal changes press the Parliament to adopt laws that are to usher in the transition.

1989
Under the influence of epochal changes in politics at home and abroad, the Hungarian Parliament begins adopting laws that are eventually to prepare and implement the transition to a multi-party system and market economy.
The ruling party and newly founded opposition parties hold National Round Table talks. Then Parliament adopts a thoroughly amended Constitution (actually the Act XX of 1949 amended). On 23 October the amended Constitution is promulgated and the Republic of Hungary is proclaimed.
Act XXXIV of 1989 on the Election of Members of Parliament, which opens the road for free, multi-party elections, and other fundamental laws on the rights of citizens are enacted.
The Hungarian election system is a mixed system with 176 MPs being elected by individual constituencies and 210 from 20 regional lists and from a national compensatory list. Elections are to be held in every fourth year.

1990
On 25 March and 8 April 1990 parliamentary elections are held. The democratic opposition wins and forms a coalition government on 23 May 1990. A few months later, the autumn local government elections crown the transition from a single-party authoritarian state to a multi-party democracy. Transition is bloodless with battles fought in legislative and political fields.

Parliamentary term: 2 May 1990 — 27 June 1994

Parliamentary Groups
(rate of mandates 
on the Constituent
sitting, %)
 

Hungarian Democratic Forum 42.7 governmental
Independent Smallholders,
Agrarian Workers and Civic Party 
11.4 governmental
Christian Democratic People’s Party 5.4 governmental
Alliance of Free Democrats 24.5 opposition
Hungarian Socialist Party 8.5 opposition
Alliance of Young Democrats (Fidesz) 5.7 opposition
Independent MPs 1.8  
Speaker Árpád Göncz (2 May 1990 – 3 August 1990)
György Szabad (3 August 1990 – 27 June 1994)

Hungary accedes to the Council of Europe on 6 November 1990. It is the twenty-fourth European country to join that organization. 

1994

Parliamentary term: 28 June 1994 - 17 June 1998

Parliamentary Groups
(rate of mandates 
on the Constituent
sitting, %)
 

Hungarian Socialist Party 54.2 governmental
Alliance of Free Democrats 18.1 governmental
Hungarian Democratic Forum 9.8 opposition
Independent Smallholders,
Agrarian Workers and Civic Party
6.7 opposition
Christian Democratic People’s Party 5.7 opposition
Alliance of Young Democrats (Fidesz) 5.2 opposition
Independent MPs 0.3  
Speaker Zoltán Gál

1998

Parliamentary term: 18 June 1998 - 14 May 2002

Parliamentary Groups
(rate of mandates 
on the Constituent
sitting, %)
 

Fidesz - Hungarian Civic Party 38.4 governmental
Independent Smallholders,
Agrarian Workers and Civic Party
12.4 governmental
Hungarian Democratic Forum 4.4 governmental
Hungarian Socialist Party 34.7 opposition
Alliance of Free Democrats 6.2 opposition
Hungarian Justice and Life Party 3.6 opposition
Independent MPs 0.3  
Speaker János Áder

1999

Hungary becomes the member state of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

2002

Parliamentary term: 15 May 2002 - 15 May 2006

Parliamentary Groups
(rate of mandates 
on the Constituent
sitting, %)
 

Hungarian Socialist Party 46.1 governmental
Alliance of Free Democrats 5.2 governmental
Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Party 42.5 opposition
Hungarian Democratic Forum 6.2 opposition
Independent MPs 0.0  
Speaker Katalin Szili

2004

From 1 May Hungary is a member of the European Union.

2006

Parliamentary term: 16 May 2006 - 13 May 2010

Parliamentary Groups
(rate of mandates 
on the Constituent
sitting, %)
 

Hungarian Socialist Party 49.2 governmental
Alliance of Free Democrats 5.2 governmental
Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Party 36.5 opposition
Christian Democratic People’s Party 5.9 opposition
Hungarian Democratic Forum 2.9 opposition
Independent MPs 0.3  
Speaker Katalin Szili ( 16 May 2006 – 14 September 2009)
Béla Katona (14 September 2009 – 13 May 2010)

2010

Parliamentary term: 14 May 2010 - 5 May 2014

Parliamentary Groups
(rate of mandates 
on the Constituent
sitting, %)
 

Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Union 58.8 governmental
Christian Democratic People’s Party 9.3 governmental
Hungarian Socialist Party 15.3 opposition
Jobbik – The Movement for a Better Hungary 12.2 opposition
Politics Can be Different (LMP) 4.1 opposition
Independent MPs 0.3  
Speaker Pál Schmitt (14 May 2010 – 5 August 2010)
László Kövér (6 August 2010 -

An amendment of the Constitution, enacted on 25 May 2010, provides that there will be 199 MPs (instead of the present 386) and further MPs may be elected to represent the national and ethnic minorities (not more than 13). Those new rules are to be implemented for the first time during the parliamentary elections of 2014.

2011

From 1 January till 30 June Hungary holds the rotating EU Presidency for the first time.

On April 18 2011 the Hungarian Parliament adopted Hungary’s new Fundamental Law.

2012

On 1 January 2012 the new Fundamental Law came into force.

2014

Parliamentary term: 6 May 2014 -

Parliamentary Groups
(rate of mandates 
on the Constituent
sitting, %)
 

Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Union 58.8 governmental
Christian Democratic People’s Party 8.0 governmental
Hungarian Socialist Party 14.6 opposition
Jobbik – The Movement for a Better Hungary 11.6 opposition
Politics Can be Different (LMP) 2.5 opposition
Independent MPs 4.5  
Speaker László Kövér