Speaking at an event at Corvinus University on Wednesday, Momentum Movement party leaders declared that higher education is a national issue — one that warrants a referendum. The party’s leadership announced it would launch another referendum campaign with which they believe it would be possible to save Central European University (CEU) by reverting the Law on Higher Education to its pre-Lex CEU status.
In addition to the prospective CEU referendum, Momentum also announced it would submit two referendum questions with the aim of imposing a two-term limit to the office of Prime Minister of Hungary. The party believes this would be the best way to prevent Prime Minister Viktor Orbán from serving a third term, reports 444.hu.
Of the two referendum questions concerning a term limit, the first would modify public office laws to prevent an individual from being nominated to a post if the person has already been elected by the National Assembly on two occasions.
The second, more direct referendum question would simply aim to restrict any individual from being nominated prime minister if the National Assembly has elected them to the post twice before.
Before being submitted to the National Election Office, the National Data and Information Protection Agency must first sign off on the questions.
According to Momentum, Ferenc Gyurcsány’s Democratic Coalition (DK) has already submitted a referendum question concerning CEU, but claims that “they have only done that to gain access to [voter] information.”
“Discredited individuals from the past 27 years cannot lead an effort like this in good faith — especially when it concerns one of the most rejected politicians, Ferenc Gyurcsány,” the party says.
In early 2017, Momentum embarked on a signature gathering campaign to put Budapest’s bid for the 2024 Olympic Games to a referendum. To the great dismay of Hungarian government, Momentum gathered more than 100,000 more signatures than the amount required to hold the referendum. Shortly after the signatures were submitted, Budapest withdrew its bid to hold the games.
The NOlympics campaign was a major eye-opener for political parties across the spectrum. The well-timed political undertaking caught many opposition parties by surprise and elevated an otherwise unknown political movement to the national stage. Since then, Momentum has been actively working to establish a political base outside Budapest, holding events throughout the country.
Unlike the NOlympics campaign, which limited signature gathering to residents of Budapest, this latest round of referendum questions concerns national issues and will provide Momentum an opportunity to test the mobilization of its activists on the national level.