At least two hundred thousand valid signatures were collected for the two-question referendum on the Fudan University/Student City plans and expanding the period for unemployment benefits, the National Election Commission (NVB) said on Wednesday.
The initiative for a referendum was submitted by Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony as a private person. The two questions were worded as follows:
- Do you agree that the maximum period for the payment of unemployment benefits should be 270 days?
- Do you agree that the National Assembly should repeal Act LXXXI of 2021 on the Fudan Hungary University Foundation regarding the transfer of assets to the Fudan Hungary University Foundation?
The Dialogue politician handed over the signature sheets on January 21, and the National Election Office (NVI), granted a 60-day deadline, began checking the names that day.
Separate signature sheets were required for each referendum question. The committee determined that at least 200,526 signatures for the Fudan referendum were valid, and at least 200,555 for the unemployment benefits-related question.
The NVI did not have to verify all the signatures that were submitted, just until it became clear that the number of valid signatures had reached the minimum of two hundred thousand.
Hungary’s Fundamental Law states that if at least 200,000 voters give their assent to an issue, it is binding upon the National Assembly to set up a national referendum on it.
The National Electoral Office has officially counted the 470,000 signatures we submitted earlier this year on Student City and extending unemployment benefits. It took them longer to count the signatures than it took us to collect them. Although they were within the legally-allowed deadline, it is difficult not to see this as a deliberate delay. They tried to make the will of hundreds of thousands of Hungarians impossible, those who supported our common efforts with their signature. But the will of the people is making its way through. There will be a real referendum on April 3, where we will decide on Student City and also decide on helping our fellow human beings in trouble.
-wrote Gergely Karácsony on social media about the issue.
As previously reported, the opposition referendum would take place in the second week of October if all deadlines reach their legally-allowed limit. In the best case scenario, this would be in August, but much still depends on the results of the election.
The newly-formed Parliament will presumably be the one to set up the referendum. As it is expected to convene only in May, the October date for the referendum appears the most likely one.
[Telex][Photo: Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony delivers referendum signatures to the National Election Office, Jan. 21, 2022 – Gergely Karácsony / Facebook]