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Socialists: Referendum to give people chance to judge govt’s performance

Hungarians will soon be given a chance to express their views on the government's performance in a referendum, an opposition Socialist Party official said on Thursday, referring to the election committee's recent approval of two referendum questions submitted by the opposition.

The National Election Committee (NVB) on Monday certified two out of five referendum questions submitted by Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony. If the opposition gathers enough supporting signatures, a referendum could be held on the issue of whether to prevent property from being transferred to China’s Fudan University and on extending the eligibility period for jobless benefits.

Citing data from the Central Statistical Office, Imre Komjathi, the Socialist Party’s deputy chairman, told an online press briefing that some 93,000 Hungarians had been out of work for 14 and a half months, noting that the jobseekers’ allowance expires after three months.

The number of people who have been without a job for over a year has increased by 20 percent compared with last August, he added.

Komjathi noted that his party called on the government multiple times to increase the jobless benefit to at least 100,000 forints (EUR 287) and extend its period of eligibility to nine months.

The people will make it clear in the referendum that they do not want China’s Fudan University to have a campus in Budapest and that they want the jobseekers’ allowance to be guaranteed for a period of nine months, Komjathi said.

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