The National Election Committee (NVB) on Monday rejected a submission by the opposition Socialist Party (MSZP) on holding a referendum concerning the protection of Hungary’s natural lakes.
The Socialists had intended to ask citizens whether public beaches on natural lakes should be accessible free of charge and whether parliament should ban the sale of public beaches. A third question concerned whether construction projects on them should be banned.
The NVB rejected the first question on the ground that it was aimed at amending the constitution. The committee said in its justification that the matter of public beaches should be handled locally either by the local council or by way of a local referendum.
The committee rejected the question concerning a ban on construction projects at public beach sites on the ground that the matter did not fall within parliament’s jurisdiction and was therefore ineligible to be put to a nationwide referendum. The NVB also said the bans constituted an infringement of the constitutionally guaranteed ownership rights of local councils.
The third question concerning a proposed ban on the sale of public beaches was rejected on the same grounds as the other questions and due to a lack of legal clarity.
The NVB’s decisions are not legally binding and can be appealed at the Kúria, Hungary’s supreme court, within 15 days.
Featured photo illustration by György Varga/MTI