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Political Capital: zero chance that opposition referendum will be held on election day

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A leading political research institute says it is “100%” certain that the opposition’s proposed referendum will not be held together with parliamentary elections on April 3.

On Friday, the six-party opposition coalition submitted the signatures it had spent weeks gathering for a national referendum on the two issues of China’s Fudan University campus in Budapest and extending unemployment benefits from 30 to 90 days.

While the united opposition is understandably communicating that its referendum can still appear on the election day ballot, Political Capital believes there is no chance of this actually happening due to the way the referendum law is structured and the slow pace of the government agencies involved.

As the research institute wrote on social media:

What’s stranger is that the interpretation going through the Hungarian media is that ever since the referendum questions were originally submitted in July last year, it was known with 99% certainty that the entire process could not be completed by April of this year.

Today, the only difference is that this has grown from 99% to 100%.

To underline their point, Political Capital lists the steps that still need to be taken before Hungarian voters actually get to have their say:

  • Verifying signatures (up to 60 days)
  • Deadline for legal redress (5 days)
  • Ruling on the appeal – Curia High Court (up to 5 days)
  • Informing the Speaker of the National Assembly (up to 8 days)
  • Speaker of the National Assembly announces the initiative at an official sitting of the National Assembly (next day Parliament meets)
  • National Assembly approves the referendum (up to 30 days)
  • Publication of the National Assembly’s resolution in the Official Gazette (up to 8 days)
  • Deadline for legal redress (15 days)
  • Ruling on the appeal – Constitutional Court (up to 30 days)
  • Setting a date for the referendum – President of the Republic (up to 15 days)
  • Referendum day (min. 70-90 days after the date is set, or min. 50 in certain cases)

Even if each of the following steps only took one day each, although the deadlines for the two appeal processes have to be waited out, it would still not be possible to hold the referendum on April 3, claims Political Capital. And if every decision in the process is made at the very end of its deadline, the entire process could drag out until October, the think tank stated.

Despite all this, Budapest Deputy Mayor Erzsébet Gy. Németh believes it is still legally possible to schedule the referendum at the same time as the general elections on April 3.

Németh told news program ATV Start that there were definitely 200,000 valid signatures, and from this point on it will be up to the National Election Office and Parliament to determine whether Hungarians will be able to cast a vote on the opposition’s proposed questions on election day.

[Népszava][Photo: activist delivers signatures to the National Election Office – Anna Orosz / Facebook page]

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