picture of Hungarian voter

A national referendum on the issue of mandatory schooling up to the age of 18 may be held after the Curia, Hungary’s High Court, rejected a request to deny its certification by the National Election Commission (NVB), reports HVG.

At issue was a question that the Hungarian Labor Party (Munkáspárt) wanted to pose to the Hungarian voting public, which reads as follows:

Do you agree that the National Assembly should amend the Public Education Act so that school attendance should again be mandatory until the age of 18?

The NVB accepted the question, but an anonymous applicant requested a review of it, claiming that raising the age limit would increase the state budget on education, and that holding referendums on the budget is not allowed. Furthermore, the applicant claimed that all of the organizational and institutional effects of this change would not be apparent to voters.

In its ruling published in the Official Gazette, the Curia stated that the question is not aimed at amending the Budget Act, and that extending compulsory schooling by two years would not in itself necessarily increase budget expenditures. It thereby upheld the NVB’s approval of the referendum question.

As a result, the Labor Party can begin collecting signatures and even put it on the ballot on the same day as when Parliamentary elections take place. However, HVG notes that the party may not be able to collect enough signatures in time to make it on the ballot.

Separately, the Curia also upheld the certification of two more referendum questions proposed by the government on “child protection,” after previously approving two other questions in the same referendum but rejecting a fifth one.

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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.