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Momentum Movement Hopes to Force Referendums to Save CEU and Keep Orbán from Running in 2018

By Tom Szigeti // 2017.04.11.

According to Hungarian news site, the Momentum youth political movement are planning on submitting two referendum questions to Hungary’s National Elections Office: one on the controversial “Lex CEU” legislation signed into law by President János Áder yesterday, and one on establishing term limits for the office of Prime Minister.

The Momentum Movement, which officially became a political party just last month, came into the political spotlight earlier this year with its successful signature-collection drive for a referendum on Budapest’s bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games. The signature drive was a massive success, with around 266,000 signatures collected; shortly thereafter, the Hungarian government and the Budapest City Council decided to officially withdraw Budapest’s bid.

Speaking at Budapest’s Corvinus University last Wednesday, Momentum leaders said that, since higher education is a “national issue,” they are preparing to push for a national referendum to prevent Central European University’s (CEU) forced departure from Hungary. As such, the party is submitting a series of questions that, if approved, would then require a set number of signatures in order to trigger a referendum on the government’s highly controversial legislation that many see as targeting CEU and threatening academic freedom in Hungary.

The second question that Momentum hopes to push for in a referendum would restrict holders of Hungary’s highest elected office, the Prime Ministry, to a total of two terms. Such a law would, of course, render both current PM Viktor Orbán and left-wing Democratic Coalition (DK) party leader Ferenc Gyurcsány ineligible to seek another term as Prime Minister. When explaining this referendum, Momentum also expressed their view that “this political leadership needs to be removed, we can’t leave this to biology.”

The Momentum Movement’s questions must first be approved by the Hungarian National Authority for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (NAIH), and only then can then be submitted to the National Elections Office.


Image via MTI