Hungary’s Supreme Court Rejects Referendum Bids On Olympics, City Park

  • 21 Jan 2016 8:00 AM
Hungary’s Supreme Court Rejects Referendum Bids On Olympics, City Park
Hungary’s supreme court has rejected referendum questions on organising Olympic Games in Budapest and the upgrade of the Városliget (City Park), overruling the Budapest Election Committee’s earlier approval. Concerning the rejection of the question of whether citizens agree that Budapest should not apply to host the Olympics in 2024, the Kúria said the capital had already submitted a declaration of intent to host the games to the International Olympic Committee.

The deadline to submit the application is February 17, 2016, whereas the referendum would have taken place at a later date, it noted.

The court said it rejected the question of whether construction regulations for the City Park project should ban new museums to be built there on the ground that the project is set to go ahead in line with a law regulating the revamp and referendums cannot be held to overrule laws.

Commenting on the ruling, the opposition Együtt party said that the Kúria made an unacceptable, politicallymotivated decision, which serves the interests of the ruling Fidesz party and denies citizens the opportunity to exercise their constitutional right of voting on important issues.

The government has been working on disabling the referendum as a democratic institution for years, and the Kúria’s latest ruling is another step in that direction, Együtt said.

The Dialogue for Hungary (PM) party called the ruling wrong. Co-leader Gergely Karácsony said his party is unsure whether the decision was a political one but it will resubmit both referendum initiatives.

Regarding the rejection of the question concerning the City Park revamp, which he submitted, Karácsony said the court’s reasoning was flawed, as the 2013 law on the revamp only states the planned changes at the City Park, without specifying whether museums should be built in the area.

Katalin Erdélyi, who submitted the question on Budapest’s Olympic bid, said the Kúria made a political ruling, and that its reasoning was flawed in this case.

The bid could not win either way, as “if the question had been whether Budapest should withdraw its bid, then it would have been rejected on the ground that the bid had not yet been submitted,” she said.

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