picture of session in Hungarian Parliament

Next year’s election and the government’s referendum may be held on the same day, as Parliament lifted the current legal restriction yesterday that no national referendum may be set on the same date as Parliamentary or European Parliamentary elections, or on any 41 days prior or following that date.

The two-thirds amendment paved the way for voters to decide on the government’s so-called “child protection” referendum issues on the same day as next spring’s Parliamentary elections.

MP Tímea Szabó of Párbeszéd, who proposed ending the restriction, justified the proposal by saying it could save money and also increase turnout at the referendum. Turnout at national referendums must be over 50% to be valid, which wasn’t reached in the last referendum held on migration back in 2016.

However, voter turnout for Parliamentary elections is regularly over 50%, so Szabó believes that the change will help make future referendums valid. Government MPs also supported the opposition representative’s proposal.

While the “child protection” referendum questions proposed by the government are certain to appear on next year’s ballot, subject to approval by the Curia High Court, there won’t be enough time to include civil referendums, such as one from Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony on the future of the Fudan campus in Hungary.

[Népszava][Photo: a session in the Hungarian Parliament]

By Steven N.

Steven is the editor-in-chief of Hungarian Politics. He has been following the political scene in Hungary and the Central European region more or less since 1994.