April 9, 2018 / 12:46 PM / 6 months ago

Hungary election lacked level playing field, benefiting ruling parties: OSCE

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungary’s election did not offer opposition parties a level playing field amid a host of problems marring a vote that nonetheless generally respected fundamental rights, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe said on Monday.

“The government’s excessive spending on ads that amplified the ruling coalition’s campaign message undermined contestants’ ability to compete on an equal basis,” OSCE election monitor Douglas Wake told a news conference.

“Intimidating and xenophobic rhetoric, media bias and opaque campaign financing” hindered political debate, he said.

“Fundamental rights and freedoms were respected overall, but exercised in an adverse climate ... Access to information as well as the freedoms of the media and association have been restricted, including by recent legal changes.”

Reporting by Marton Dunai; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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