The Kúria, Hungary’s Supreme Court, has upheld two decisions of the National Election Committee that certified the government’s “child protection” referendum questions, and also approved a referendum question of the Hungarian Worker’s Party on education.
The government’s two questions about “child protection” are as follows:
- “Do you support the unrestricted exposure of underage children to sexually explicit media content that may affect their development?”
- “Do you support the provision of sexual orientation sessions to underage children in public education without parental consent?”
The government’s referendum is related to the so-called “child protection law” the parliamentary majority approved in June, and which topic was also the subject of a “national consultation” held after the voting.
Six requests for revision have been filed against the questions of the referedum, but only the satirical Hungarian Two-Tailed Dog Party (MKKP) was named. The applicants claim that the questions are unclear because they contain vague definitions and that the majority of “yes” answers would require Parliament to make decisions that would be contrary to international treaties. As we have also reported before, the Two-Tailed Dog Party challenged other questions by the government as well. The question that the Supreme Court annulled because of this was: “Do you support the availability of sex reassignment therapy for minor children?” According to MKKP, the question gives “the false impression that sex reassignment surgery for minors is available today,” even though it is not.
Parliament also adopted the amendment proposal to the Electoral Procedures Act and the Referendums Act submitted by János Volner, former Jobbik politician, now independent Member of the National Assembly, who often takes the same stance as the Orbán administration. According to an amendment, it is now possible to hold a referendum and parliamentary, municipal, or EP elections on the same day.
According to government-critical Telex, experts see the significance of the amendment in the fact that it will allow Fidesz to coordinate its parliamentary election campaign with the “child protection referendum.”
The Hungarian Worker’s Party’s question that has been approved is the following:
- “Do you agree that Parliament should amend the Public Education Act so that compulsory education in Hungary should once again be mandatory until the age of 18?”
The National Electoral Committee (NVB) approved the question, but an unknown person appealed against it, which is why the case went to the Kúria. Whoever complained asked for a review on the grounds that raising the age limit would increase the state’s budget for education, and referendums on the budget are prohibited. Furthermore, he said that the organizational and institutional restructuring implications of all this are not clear to the electorate. However, according to a ruling of the Kúria published in Magyar Közlöny, the issue does not concern the amendment of the budget law, and extending compulsory education by two years would not necessarily increase budget expenditure.
After the questions are approved, the signature collection can begin.
Featured image via Tamás Kovács/MTI