Prime minister Viktor Orbán – Photo: PMO

Prime minister calls on voters to say no to all questions

Orbán: Government initiates child protection referendum

The government has decided to initiate a referendum concerning issues around child protection, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Wednesday. In a video posted on Facebook, Orbán said that "Brussels has clearly attacked Hungary" over the country's recent child protection law banning "sexual propaganda" in schools, kindergartens, and in the media.

Brussels now “demands changes to the education law and child protection regulations”, the prime minister said, adding that “they complain that we do not allow what has become the Western European practice” with “LGBTQ activists going into kindergartens and schools to provide sexual information”. “That is what Brussels bureaucrats want in Hungary, too,” he insisted.

“Our children’s future is at stake and we cannot make concessions in this case,” Orbán said, and insisted that “when pressure on our country is this strong, Hungary could only be protected by the common will of the people”.

The questions for the planned referendum are as follows:

Do you support that minors should attend school classes on the topic of sexual orientations without parental consent?

Do you support promoting gender change treatments among minors?

Do you support that gender reassignment surgery should be available to minors?

Do you support that media content influencing sexual development should be presented to minors without restriction?

Do you support that media content depicting gender change should be presented to minors?

The prime minister called on voters to say no to all those questions and “stop Brussels” just like in 2016, when “Brussels wanted to force migrants onto Hungary”.

The referendum bid was submitted to the National Election Committee later on Wednesday, which will now have 60 days to assess the questions. The committee will approve the bid if the subject comes under the purview of parliament, if the questions do not touch on fields such as the budget or international treaties, and if they are worded clearly enough for the purpose.

The committee’s decision can be appealed within 15 days after release.

Dobrev: Referendum designed to deflect from ‘real problems’

The recently announced 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 called Viktor Orbán”, the opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) said. By rejecting the Hungarian government’s reconstruction plan on Tuesday, the EU had “turned off the money taps”, DK’s MEP Klara Dobrev told a press conference on Wednesday. Other forms of funding could go the same way, as they are subject to the same regulations, she said.

Dobrev insisted that the EU was acting “to protect Hungarians” and said that “another government and regime are needed to ensure that the funds will end up with Hungarian SMEs, farmers, civil organisations, and local governments.”

According to Dobrev, the prime minister is “acting in despair” and seeks to “cover up reality with pseudo-questions”. Orbán has initiated a referendum “concerning non-existent problems and non-existent enemies just to avoid having to talk about substantive issues,” Dobrev said.

“Viktor Orbán surveilled his own people using dishonest and unlawful means, and the EU withholds funding so the Hungarian government cannot distribute it among its oligarchs and family members,” she said, referring to press reports on the surveillance of Hungarian journalists and opposition politicians.

The “new government of the republic” after the elections next April will make all data on surveillance public, and will reopen negotiations on EU funding, she said.

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