Politics

Hungary’s Supreme Court Greenlights Momentum’s Referendum Bid On Controversial NGO Law

Hungary’s Supreme Court, the Kúria, approved a referendum bid regarding the controversial law on the “transparency” of non-governmental organisations in a binding ruling.

The proposal was submitted to the National Election Committee by Barnabás Kádár, a board member of the opposition Momentum Movement (pictured above in red-white striped shirt), as a private individual. The question submitted for approval reads: “Do you agree that the National Assembly should annul Act LXXVI on the Transparency of Organisations Receiving Foreign Funds?” The Kúria’s ruling overrides the National Election Committee’s July decision to reject the bid.

The NGO law, adopted by the ruling Fidesz-KDNP coalition in June, obliges NGOs that receive more than HUF 7.2 million (USD 27,000) of funding from foreign donors to register as “foreign-funded” organizations with a court, and indicate this status in their public communications. Many NGOs see the law as stigmatizing and have vowed to defy it. Over 200 organizations joined the Helsinki Committee in disobeying the order.

Momentum spokesperson Miklós Hajnal told news portal 24.hu that Momentum’s entire country-wide network will participate in collecting signatures and will collect enough to hold a referendum. Regarding the NGOs, Hajnal said that their work is invaluable, and making their work impossible is equal to making democracy impossible.

An MP of the allied ruling Christian Democrats said in reaction that Momentum’s initiative was “an action plan to defend George Soros and his network”. István Hollik said that Momentum had “taken sides with pro-migration organisations” and is now working to “prevent transparency” of those organisations. Hungary’s voters “are entitled to know which organisations are receiving significant funding from abroad, and it is all the more so when those organisations launch politically motivated attacks against a democratically elected government and its measures,” Hollik insisted.

via hungarymatters.hu and budapestbeacon.com; photo: János Marjai – MTI