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Electoral Law

Volume 439: debated on Monday 30 June 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the fact that the present Hungarian Government proposes to carry out a purge of electors, which would mean that between 180,000 and 200,000 would be disfranchised; and whether he will protest against this, in view of Article III of the treaty, as well as of the Yalta and Potsdam Agreements.

My right hon. Friend has received reports that the Hungarian Government are preparing a revised electoral law, the object of which would be the exclusion from their suffrage rights of elements said to be anti-democratic. His Majesty's Government cannot decide whether a protest will be called for until they can judge what the effect will be of any such law promulgated.

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that the term "antidemocratic" is extremely elastic, and that under this term a very large number of citizens may be disfranchised?

Has my hon. Friend's attention been drawn to the fact that in a statement attributed to one of the Hungarian Vice-Premiers the other day, it was stated that no change in the franchise was contemplated?

I have not had my attention drawn to that report, but I have seen a newspaper report to the contrary recently.

Can the Minister state what the Hungarian Government means by "undemocratic"? Have they defined that expression? Does it mean "anti-Communist," or what?