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National Election Office pushes back on claims of holding back petition drive efforts

picture of petition signers

The National Election Office (NVI) has pushed back on claims that it is holding back efforts by the opposition to collect signatures for its petition drive, reports 444.

Hungary’s political opposition intends to hold a national referendum on two questions relating to Fudan University and unemployment benefits, but it needs to collect 200,000 signatures first. The parties began their petition drive last week.

But NVI is making this more difficult with its slow pace of issuing signature sheets, claims Everybody’s Hungary Movement (MMM), the organization of the opposition’s prime ministerial candidate, Péter Márki-Zay. The opposition got its initial batch of signature sheets from NVI two days late, says the group, and when it requested extra sheets on December 17, the office informed Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony that it could only send them on the 23rd.

Following this, NVI released a statement to MTI explaining that it would be providing “thousands of special-purpose signature collection sheets to organizers for a second time before the legally-required deadline, as with the first request.” NVI noted that it was limited by its supplier’s capacity, and that 26,667 sheets had been provided to Mayor Karácsony as a private person on December 15.

In addition, “contrary to what appeared in the press,” NVI stated that it had received the “organizer’s second request” on the afternoon of December 20, which it processed immediately. NVI also claims that even though the law gives them up to five days to issue the forms, they will be provided to petition organizers on December 23, or two days ahead of the legally-mandated deadline.

[444][Photo: Gergely Karácsony / Facebook]

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