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Authorities give partial approval to Budapest Mayor’s referendum questions
“Do you agree that the National Assembly should repeal Act LXXXI of 2021 on the Fudan Hungary University Foundation and on the transfer of assets to the Fudan Hungary University Foundation?”
This is the question that was unanimously accepted by the National Election Commission (NVB), one of five initiated by Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony. It seems that voters will be able to give their opinion on this subject in a referendum if Karacsony and his allies manage to collect two hundred thousand signatures demanded by the law.
The other question allowed by NVB concerns unemployment benefits:
"Do you agree that the maximum duration of unemployment benefit should be 270 days?"
The three other referendum questions were dismissed by NVB. One was about the concession planned by the government concerning the Hungarian highway network:
“Do you agree that the operation of motorways in Hungary should not be entrusted to a company under a concession contract?”
There would also have been a question about the European Public Prosecutor's Office:
"Do you agree that Hungary should join the European Public Prosecutor's Office?"
Lastly, Karacsony would also have voted for free coronavirus tests for the elderly:
“Do you agree that all Hungarian residents over 60 years of age should be entitled to a free SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody test?”
Gergely Karácsony said he would appeal against the decision in the case of the three refused questions.
On July 21, Karácsony initiated a referendum as an individual citizen on the five issues following a lift of a ban on referenda due to the emergency situation introduced because of the covid pandemic.
Immediately after the lifting of the ban, Prime Minister Orbán announced his referendum initiative on “child protection” issues, with five questions that have already been given the green light by NVB at its July 30 meeting, although Karacsony submitted his questions the same day as Orbán.
The referendum could take place in January or February at the latest.
Budapest general assembly moves to revoke its approval for hosting the 2023 Athletic World Championships
The majority of the capital's general assembly - controlled by the opposition - accepted the proposal of mayor Gergely Karácsony, on the possible veto of the 2023 Athletics World Championships.
According to the accepted resolution, the capital city will only support the organization of the World Athletics Championships in Budapest if the government does not transfer land to Fudan University in the area where the Student City was originally planned, and the support is also conditional on the government fulfilling its financial promises to improve healthcare in the capital.
Despite its earlier decision, the government had not yet started negotiations on the transfer of the funds allocated to the capital's healthcare this year, although the deadline for doing so had long expired.
Following the 2019 municipal elections, the new leadership attached conditions to its approval of hosting the major sporting event, on the premise that it would be the biggest one ever held in Hungary.
One of those terms was the Student City project, aimed at providing accommodation to some 8,000 students in the 9th district (also flipped by the opposition in 2019). But the government chose the same site to build China’s Fudan University, at the expense of the Student City
Since the building plots in question have not yet actually been handed over to the Fudan University Foundation, there is still a theoretical possibility that the original bargain will be fulfilled
Viktor Orbán paid to attend the Roman Catholic meeting
The organizers of the event held in the Italian capital confirmed to local news portal hvg.hu that their invitation was also addressed to the family members of the participants, but did not cover their costs.
Participation fees had to be paid by those who attended the “International Meeting of Catholic Legislators”, according to hvg.hu.
The news portal contacted the Austrian organization after it turned out that in addition to the minister in charge for families Katalin Novák, Viktor Orbán also took part in last week's event, and the prime minister was accompanied by his family.
The head of government was photographed on the terrace of a Roman restaurant by one of the readers of 444.hu.
The International Catholic Legislators Network (ICLN) confirmed that the invitation did extend to the family members of the participants.
“We can confirm that our invitations to our annual meeting also include family members. As Christians, we value the family, and we don’t want family members to be separate from our meetings unless absolutely necessary. Many of our participants bring them along, ” they wrote.
The secretariat also informed that all their participants would pay the “modest” conference fee themselves.
On Monday, news portal 24.hu wrote that the military aircraft used as a government plane, the Dassault Falcon 7X, picked up several Fidesz politicians who showed up in Rome last week.
The paper said that the plane of the Ministry of Defense took off from Kecskemét at noon last Thursday to fly to Budapest in a circle that also affected Lake Balaton. Presumably from Liszt Ferenc Airport, it left with Katalin Novák and the delegation at 4 pm to fly to Croatia, as pointed out by Ákos Hadházy, an independent Member of Parliament. The plane began to descend in front of the island of Brac, then turned off its beacon. Hadházy says it took the prime minister and his family aboard at that location.
The assumption is confirmed by the fact that the black Volkswagen minibus, which has been used by Viktor Orbán for a long time, was parked right in front of the airport in Brac when the plane arrived on Thursday.
Hadházy and opposition parties accuse Orbán of misappropriation of government property, as the cost of such a trip with a private jet amounts to some 9 M HUF.
Orbán’s press officer Havas dismissed the accusation and said that the head of government - as always - paid for its own expenses.
According to his declaration of personal assets, the Prime Minister has no savings.
New anti-pedophile law spawns seven times as many complaints as before
Since the adoption of the controversial anti-pedophile law packed with homophobic clauses, complaints sent to the media authority NMHH by citizens have multiplied: NMHH received 69 complaints in the two months that passed since the adoption of the law, of alleged violations of provisions for the protection of minors.
Presumably, the anti-pedophile law also plays a major role in the fact that NMHH has received far more notifications than before. Independent local media Magyar Hang asked NMHH how many reports were received during this period, concerning different potential violations of the provisions of the Media Act concerning the protection of minors.
Between 15 June and 25 August, according to NMHH, 69 such notifications were received, an increase of almost seven fold, as only ten notifications concerning the protection of minors were made in the same period last year.
According to Magyar Hang, complaints can be filed not only by the NMHH, but also to the authorities overseeing consumer protection as well as to the police.
In the anti-pedophile law adopted in June, Fidesz introduced amendments to the paragraphs that melded homosexuality with pedophilia and prohibit those under the age of 18 from depicting or promoting homosexuality and gender change, among other things.
There have been strong criticisms of the law that showed many similarities with a Russian law earlier adopted by the Putin regime.
Despite strong criticism both from Hungary and from abroad, including top EU officials and an infringement procedure launched by the Commission, President János Áder signed the law which came into effect. According to Háttér Társaság, an NGO set up to defend LGBT rights, the number of homophobic incidents and crimes have risen in Hungary.