Budapest, Hungary – The Hungarian opposition’s primary elections were suspended until Monday after a suspected cyber attack, the National Primary Election Committee announced Saturday lunchtime.
Voting began at 6am on Saturday, but stopped later in the morning. Initially, the voting was only said to be suspended until 12pm in order to increase server capacity. However, the committee announced in the early hours of the afternoon that voters would have to wait until Monday to cast their votes.
Voting is possible both online and in-person, however volunteer officials have to use an electronic system that verifies that a voter has not cast a vote before.
“In the past three hours, we conducted an extensive technical analysis regarding the anomaly that slowed down the Primaries’ IT system. By now, it has become clear to us that this morning between 6 and 10am, individuals other than the masses of people who want change were interested in the primary; the primaries IT systems were affected by a mass-scale cyberattack whose origins are unknown at present.” – The National Primary Election Committee said in a statement.
“It was not a simple, well-known form of attack but a more complex attempt involving many steps. Continuing the primaries at this stage would pose a technical risk of unknown severity. However, it is also clear that this threat can be countered in approximately a day. Therefore, we could only make one responsible decision; the primaries will continue on 20 September at 7am.”
The primaries are organised by six opposition parties, DK, Jobbik, LMP, Momentum, MSZP, and Párbeszéd, who announced last year that they would take on Fidesz together. Voters can cast their votes for the common candidate for prime minister as well as MP candidates in each constituency.
The first round of voting ends on September 26, while the second round, where voters get to vote for one of the top 3 prime ministerial candidates from the first round is due to be held between October 4 and October 10.
By Ábel Bede
Ábel Bede was born in Budapest and has two degrees in History from Durham University. He specialised in Central Europan history and has been contributing to Kafkadesk since 2019. Feel free to check out more of his articles right here!