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Constitutional Court Blocks Referendum on Fudan, But Opposition Has Plan B

The Constitutional Court has blocked holding the national referendum on the Fudan University project and extending unemployment benefits. The two questions, which were submitted by Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony as a private individual and promoted by Hungary’s political opposition, had already been approved by the National Election Commission, but a date had not been set to hold the referendum.

The questions submitted by the Mayor are the following:

  • 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?
  • Do you agree that the maximum period for the payment of unemployment benefits should be 270 days?

Reacting to the decision in a press conference, Gergely Karácsony charged the court with applying “double standards,” due to the fact that the government’s referendum initiative, the so-called “child protection” referendum promoted by Fidesz and the government, did not have to face such obstacles. The “child protection” referendum was held on April 3, at the same time as Hungary’s parliamentary elections, but was deemed invalid due to insufficient turnout.

In a press conference held on another topic in connection with the affair, the Mayor claimed that the Consititutional Court had “crossed a line,” and that it was “nonsense that the court had issued a ruling because of a complaint by a single person, ignoring the will of more than 200,000 citizens that gave their signature to each question.”

Ferencváros Mayor Krisztina Baranyi also reacted to the news by telling HVG.hu that a possible “Plan B” would be to hold a local referendum on the Fudan issue for Ferencváros residents.

Responding to Baranyi’s idea, Karácsony said that as mayor of Budapest, he had room to manuever on the Fudan project even without the need to hold a local referendum on the topic, although he did not provide any details about what he had in mind. [HVG]

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