Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced on Wednesday that in response to the attacks from Brussels, the government will initiate a “child protection” referendum against “sexual propaganda.” Meanwhile, opposition parties call for the boycott of the referendum, saying that the prime minister’s announcement is nothing more than a means to divert attention from the most burning issues of Hungary and recent scandals of the government such as the “Pegasus” surveillance scandal, the construction of the Chinese Fudan University, and the EU’s withholding of Hungary’s recovery funds.
“I send the message to Orbán: mess with your ancestors, not your homeland!”, former Socialist Prime Minister and the leader of opposition Democratic Coalition Ferenc Gyurcsány posted his brief reaction to the government’s recently announced referendum on Facebook.
In addition to Gyurcsány, a spokesman of the party also promised that “the referendum will be invalid and ineffective, we will take care of it.”
Meanwhile, DK’s MEP Klára Dobrev told reporters that the referendum on Hungary’s child protection law serves to deflect from the fact that the European Union will not send “a single cent” of funding to Hungary “as long as its prime minister is Viktor Orbán.”
Centrist-liberal Momentum also called for the boycott of the referendum as “with this hateful, fake referendum, the government only wants to divert attention from Fudan University, the surveillance scandal, unwinding inflation, stolen highways.”
Party president András Fekete-Győr says that the authorities would turn Hungarians against Hungarians, stigmatize them, divide them, therefore they “shouldn’t participate in any way.”
Independent lawmaker Ákos Hadházy, who is running in the opposition primaries with the support of Momentum, expressed a similar opinion.
“The opposition must give a clear and firm answer: to say as firmly and unitedly as possible that this is just a distraction, a fake campaign stunt. After one of the worst epidemic responses in the world, with 30,000 deaths and a collapsed health service, 8 months before the elections, this is clearly just a campaign trick.”
LMP also finds it “extremely cynical and outrageous,” which, in addition to inciting anger within society, may have a single purpose, and that is to divert attention from the Pegasus case.
In a Facebook post, independent MP Bernadett Szél also condemned Orbán’s referendum initiative, which she said was a “compounded case of political pedophilia.”
She said the government’s current move is “obvious and predictable” since the surveillance scandal exploded a few days ago, and the government “is stuttering, has no answers,” but then “in their witch kitchen of propaganda they cook up: let there be a referendum!”
The President of Jobbik also emphasized that Viktor Orbán’s party wants to divert attention from the global Pegasus scandal that currently surrounds them. He said that the country and the world would like answers as to why Hungarian citizens had to be monitored and surveilled while the Prime Minister “hid for three days while they [the government] cooked something up in their “witch’s kitchen.” He also pointed out that the referendum “costs a lot, but at least his buddies can make some money.”
Following Orbán’s announcement, Budapest Mayor, Gergely Karácsony, who is also one of the united opposition’s prime ministerial candidates at the primaries, declared that he would also initiate a referendum on the issues of Fudan University, the motorway concession, and antibody screening.
In the featured photo: independent MP Bernadett Szél. Photo by Attila Kovács/MTI