The Socialist Party is initiating a referendum on the status and protection of public beaches at Hungarian lakes, the head of the party’s board said in Fonyód, at Lake Balaton. Ágnes Kunhalmi told a press conference that the referendum will contain three questions. The first will ask people whether public beaches on freshwater lakes should be accessible free of charge. The second and third questions will ask whether parliament should impose a ban on selling public beaches and undertaking constructions on them. Kunhalmi said losses incurred by the local governments should be compensated from the central budget.
She noted that the Socialists have recently launched a signature campaign to raise awareness of the “problems” regarding Lake Balaton, Hungary’s largest lake. The drive calls for sailboat ports to be left in public ownership and the preservation of free beaches on the lake, she said. Kunhalmi insisted that “oligarchs” connected to the ruling Fidesz party had “started to buy up the Balaton shoreline, along with other lakes” in 2010. The trend picked up in 2016, she said, “elbowing low earners out of the holiday resorts”.