Despite previous greenlights from parliament and the Supreme Court (Kúria), Hungary’s Constitutional Court blocked referenda on controversial Chinese university investment and unemployment benefits.
In a decision announced on Wednesday (18 May), the Constitutional Court, widely considered by its critics to have been packed by the ruling Fidesz with government-loyal judges, quashed the opposition’s hopes to ask Hungarians whether they agree with the government’s controversial plans to build a Chinese university in the Hungarian capital and extend unemployment benefits to a maximum of nine months from the current three-month period.
The court ruled that the democratic exercise initiated by Budapest’s green mayor Gergely Karácsony’s and supported by the opposition parties would question an international treaty in the case of the Fudan University and impact the state budget in case of unemployment benefits, serving as grounds for annulment.
In its reactions, the opposition accused the court of bias and serving the government’s agenda.
Karácsony said on Wednesday that the Constitutional Court, whose moral integrity was once the pride of all Hungarians, “with a few honourable exceptions, has become a gathering place for party soldiers with a crony lawyer mentality”.