Signatures collected for referendum, Csollány dies at 51, House of music inaugurated and Hungary gets bad mark for corruption

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Opposition gathers necessary signatures for referendum

Opposition parties handed over the signatures collected for the referendum on Fudan University and extending the jobseekers’ allowance, on January 21.

The alliance handed over the 235,000 signatures supporting each of their referendum questions to the National Election Office.

Although time is tight until the general elections of April 3, several opposition politicians have said that - similarly to the government’ homophobic “child protection” referendum - their referendum could also be held on the day of the parliamentary election.

However, there are strict schedules and deadlines for ordering a referendum, which are regulated by law, such as:

  • Verification of signatures (up to 60 days)
  • Deadline for appeal (5 days)
  • Examination of an appeal - Supreme Court (max. 5 days)
  • Informing the Speaker of the Parliament (max. 8 days)
  • The Speaker of the Parliament announces the initiative (next day)
  • Parliament orders referendum (max. 30 days)
  • Publication of the resolution of the Parliament in the Hungarian Gazette (max. 8 days)
  • Deadline for Appeal (15 days)
  • Review of Appeal - Constitutional Court (max. 30 days)
  • Setting the day of the referendum - President of the Republic (max. 15 days)
  • Date of the referendum (70-90 days)

Based on the above, it is impossible for the opposition referendum to be held on election day.

Szilveszter Csollány, Olympic champion gymnast, dies at 51

Hungarian athlete Szilveszter Csollány, Olympic champion gymnast, died at 51 from the COVID-19.

“We have to announce with deep sorrow that Olympic, World and European Champion gymnast Szilveszter Csollány has died at the age of 51,” The Hungarian Gymnastics Association and the Hungarian Olympic Committee informed in a joint statement.

“The Olympic champion gymnast not only achieved outstanding results as an athlete, but was also an excellent husband and a very good father,” the statement added.

From the beginning of December, Csollány was infected with the coronavirus and was in serious condition on a ventilator in a hospital in Budapest.

The gymnast won an Olympic ring championship in Sydney in 2000, retired in 2003 and recently worked as a coach in Austria.

The Olympic champion previously shared anti-vaxxer posts on his Facebook page.

"He didn't want to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, but since he worked in Austria as a coach at a small club in Eisenstadt, where he was required to be protected, he vaccinated himself,” local tabloid Blikk informed.

According to the same source, the athlete had received a single-dose vector vaccine, Janssen.

Orbán inaugurates House of Music on National Culture Day

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán inaugurated Hungary’s new contemporary cultural landmark, the House of Music, on the occasion of the National Culture Day, here on Saturday.

“Crisis or not, we Hungarians are currently in a cultural expansion,” Orbán said at the opening ceremony in a snowy Budapest.

“Europe is going through difficult times, with epidemics and waves of migration, the European energy crisis is threatening us…while the political, military, economic and cultural weight of our continent is constantly shrinking compared to the rest of the world," he added.

He also said that elsewhere, such institutions tended to close, downsize, and retreat because of the epidemic, while "we have this stunning new institution here.”

“What is more, the House of Hungarian Music is not a standalone project, but an integrated part of a huge cultural investment,” he added.

Being a cultural nation was an extremely important part of Hungarians self-definition, according to him.

The House of Music, a new contemporary cultural landmark dedicated to music in Budapest, was built as part of the Liget Budapest Project, Europe’s largest and most ambitious, multiple award-winning urban cultural development, according to Orbán.

The new spectacular building, designed by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto, features a vast undulating roof and was created to host a range of interactive musical experiences in celebration of music-making.

The vision for the project is to bring the experience of music to life through the interaction of nature, sound and light.

The International Property Awards selected the House of Music as the best building, and thanks to its unique concept the Music Cities also awarded it with the title of Best Use of Music in Property Development.

The impressive 9,000m2 (total floor area) building is nestled amongst the trees of the City Park. The designers have taken inspiration from the synergy between sound and nature; presenting the building as a continuation of its park context and an ambitious rethinking of a 21st century museum space.

The House’s facade is paneled in a curtain of glass to create a completely translucent building that blurs boundaries between indoor and outdoor space. The glass facade is made up of 94 custom-manufactured, heat-insulated, horizontally undivided panels and its height reaches almost 12 meters in some areas of the House.

The feeling of being in nature is further enhanced by a canopy of over 30,000 decorative tree leaves set in the suspended ceiling and secured in place by a steel structure made out of 1,000 honeycomb-shaped elements.

Although the building is spectacular, critical voices reminded that the conception of the project was controversial to say the least.

“On Culture Day, it is particularly important to remind ourselves that this building was built not in the name of culture but in the spirit of barbaric violence,” Budapest city mayor Gergely Karácsony said following the opening ceremony.

“Violence against the city's most important public park. Violence against nature. Violence against the rule of law, as the construction was made possible with the adoption of a separate lex-Városliget, hacking all existing legislation. Violence against the will of the people, as he public has been opposed to the project, and my referendum initiative to stop it has been illegally blocked. There was also literally brutal violence against citizens protesting against the investment, who have been beaten by criminal security guards. And violence against taxpayers, because, as usual, the investment exceeded original plans many times, costing more than 10 million forints a square meter,” he explained in a Facebook post.

Of course, I don’t encourage anyone not to visit the House of Music, the best way to reduce the damage caused by an investment is to use it once it has been built, the mayor argued.

TI: Hungary is the second most corrupt member state of the EU

Hungary managed to achieve a worse result than in 2020 in the corruption report published by Transparency International (TI).

The CPI ranks 180 countries and territories around the world by their perceived levels of public sector corruption. The results are given on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). 

Hungary received 43 points in 2021, which is one worse than the previous year's figure. In the European Union, only Bulgaria performs worse, with a score of 42 points. Hungary is ranked 73rd out of 180 countries.

Transparency has been measuring the Corruption Perceptions Index since 1995, and Hungary has never received such a bad grade.

Switzerland (84), the Netherlands (82), Belgium (73), Slovenia (57), Poland (56) and Cyprus (53) also received their worst ratings ever.

In addition to Luxembourg, Poland and Cyprus, Hungary was highlighted in the summary as a European State where the corruption situation has significantly deteriorated since 2012.

According to TI, the Hungarian government has taken advantage of the epidemic to further consolidate its power and restrict freedoms, especially the freedom of expression and the freedom of media.

In comparison, Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Italy and Greece have made progress in the last ten years.

Denmark, Finland and New Zealand lead the global list with 88 points, and Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Germany are also in the top ten.

According to the report, the most corrupt country in the world is South Sudan (11 points). 

This year, the global average remains unchanged for the tenth year in a row, at just 43 out of a possible 100 points. Despite multiple commitments, 131 countries have made no significant progress against corruption in the last decade. Two-thirds of countries score below 50, indicating that they have serious corruption problems, while 27 countries are at their lowest score ever.

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Új kommentelési szabályok érvényesek 2019. december 2-től. Itt olvashatod el, hogy mik azok, és itt azt, hogy miért vezettük be őket.