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OPPOSITION PARTIES PROMOTE REFERENDUM AS 'STEP TO GOVT CHANGE'

 

Representatives of parliamentary opposition parties have called on the public to support a referendum initiative which they say would be “a step towards changing the government”. Péter Márki-Zay, prime ministerial candidate of the united opposition, called on voters to support the referendum “to stem corruption and poverty”. One of the referendum’s two questions aims to provide affordable housing for students as opposed to plans to construct a campus of Fudan University at the site. The other question is about the opposition’s initiative to extend the period of unemployment benefits from three months to nine, which he said was the shortest in the European Union.
The referendum, he insisted, had a “larger significance” and would help the opposition win “a majority which could release Hungary from the most corrupt government in its history”. Gergely Karácsony, mayor of Budapest and co-leader of the Párbeszéd party, said that so far the united opposition has gathered almost 100,000 signatures in support of the proposed referendum.
Hungary, he said, needed “a government which serves the people” rather than “rulers who lord it over them”, adding that the six opposition parties had formed an alliance to make that happen.
Democratic Coalition MEP Klára Dobrev said “each signature is as much contribution as a vote” to replacing the government and building a “freer, more democratic Hungary”. Momentum leader Anna Donáth said a longer period of unemployment benefits would help to remedy Hungary’s “existential problems”. Co-leader of the Socialist Party Ágnes Kunhalmi called on citizens to back plans to build a “student city” instead of creating a campus for China’s Fudan University. LMP co-leader Máté Kanász-Nagy said that the referendum was motivated by a desire to create greater social security. Conservative Jobbik deputy leader Dániel Z. Kárpát said that an opposition government would “steer the country towards western prosperity rather than in the direction of Eastern dictatorships”. He insisted that the ruling Fidesz party was “pseudo-patriotic” and “betrayed Hungary’s young people”. A government run by the current opposition, he added, would offer a rental subsidies, student hostels and “opportunities to prosper in the homeland”.