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Socialists Appeal Rejection of Referendum Bid on Protection of Lakes at Top Court

MTI-Hungary Today 2020.09.08.

The opposition Socialist Party (MSZP) on Monday submitted an appeal to the Kúria, Hungary’s supreme court, over the National Election Committee (NVB) rejecting a submission by the party on holding a referendum concerning the protection of Hungary’s natural lakes.

Party director Zsolt Molnár told a press conference in front of the court building that the NVB’s decision was “appalling”, adding that the Socialists trust the Kúria would make a “positive decision”.

Molnár expressed hope that after the referendum Hungary’s free waters would indeed become freely accessible to all and all attempts to overdevelop beaches and camping sites, and drain natural marshlands would be forbidden.

He said that during the autumn term of parliament, the Socialists would submit a comprehensive amendment proposal for the law on Lake Balaton.

NVB rejected the Socialists’ submission on August 24.

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.

MSZP Calls for Action to Protect Lake Balaton against 'Fidesz Colonisers'
MSZP Calls for Action to Protect Lake Balaton against 'Fidesz Colonisers'

The opposition Socialist Party (MSZP) are pressing ahead with their initiative to protect Hungary’s natural lakes, including Lake Balaton, the leader of the party said on Saturday. The party collected over 100,000 signatures in support of its initiative for a referendum on the matter which aimed to put a halt to Lake Balaton’s “colonisation by […]Continue reading

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.

Featured image by Zoltán Balogh/MTI