* Voters must sign up 15 days before 2014 vote
* Opposition party sprays lawmakers with paper slips
* System could reduce turnout, hit all parties -survey
BUDAPEST, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Hungarian voters in the next
election in 2014 will have to register at least 15 days
beforehand under a reform pushed through parliament on Monday,
which drew protests from the opposition.
A recent survey by pollster Ipsos said the change would
reduce turnout especially in rural areas. About a quarter of
those planning to vote - equally among every party's supporters
- are unwilling to register in advance, the survey found.
The change, in the form of a constitutional amendment and
affecting some 8 million voters, was approved by the two-thirds
majority of Prime Minister Viktor Orban's ruling
Fidesz-Christian democrat alliance.
Previously voters were identified from a state-run registry
which Fidesz has considered scrapping.
The small opposition LMP party showered lawmakers with
hundreds of slips of paper in protest, whose flash protest
invoked a 1947 election which lifted the Communists into power.
LMP lawmaker Gergely Karacsony said the Fidesz move could
undermine voters' faith in a fair election in 2014.
The amendment is the latest in a series of controversial
reforms by Orban's conservative Fidesz, which has adopted
policies that critics said threatened the autonomy of the media,
judiciary and the central bank.
The main opposition Socialists, who have said the measure
could disenfranchise some groups of voters, rejected the motion,
as did the far-right Jobbik as well as the liberal LMP.
Speaking before the debate, Fidesz parliamentary group
leader Antal Rogan defended the reform, saying it was modelled
on a system already in place in Western democracies.
"Those of you who speak about democracy being impaired, are
you not bothered by the fact that in the United States, voter
registries are assembled on the basis of registration?," Rogan
told parliament. "The same applies to England or Belgium."
Senior ruling party lawmakers have said the reform would
encourage people to take a more active role in the process and
Fidesz says registration is needed as hundreds of thousands
of new voters will have joined the electorate in 2014, most of
them granted dual citizenship after Orban took power in 2010,
and no other uniform solution exists to accommodate the changes.
Domestic voters will have to sign up in person or online 15
days before parliamentary elections due in the first half of
2014. Registration by mail will only be available for Hungarians
who live abroad.
(Reporting by Marton Dunai and Sandor Peto; Editing by Michael