The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe has warned that “excessive” spending by the Hungarian government on ads that reflected the election campaign of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s ruling Fidesz party and its small ally “significantly compromised” a fair contest.

Douglas Wake, who heads this international election monitor, said on April 9 that the overlapping campaigns “blurred the line between state and party”.

As reported by The Associated Press (AP), Wake warned that state television “clearly favoured” the government, with commercial broadcasters also partisan, either for the government or the opposition. He said online media offered better opportunities to deal pluralistically with the issues.

Wake also noted that “hostile and intimidating campaign rhetoric limited the space for substantive debate and diminished voters’ ability to make an informed choice.”