Hungary

HUNGARY: Thousands take to the streets again

internet-tax-protests-hungary

Under Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government, Hungary has left the path of democratic societies. Fidesz is turning Hungary into an authoritarian state, with a disrespect of citizens’ rights, the rule of law, private property, freedom of religion. Under Orban’s false ideology of an illiberal democracy, there is massive cronyism and corruption enriching a select few.

Literally, the word republic was removed from the constitution.

According to the organizers, the protesters’ goal is to dismantle the Orban regime and build a new democratic republic, based on solidarity, equality, the rule of law and transparency.

Százezren az internetadó ellen PRESS RELEASE

Opposition to Mr. Orban government has begun to have some success. The Internet Tax demonstrations forced Orban to withdraw his outlandish plans to charge 50 euro cents per gigabyte of traffic. Protests against the nationalisation of the private pension funds also forced  the government to step back.

To this end, we submitted 19 referendum questions to the National Election Office on Friday 13th of March 2015. The questions are explained and outlined below:

  • Transparency of the wealth of Hungary’s politicians. Recent scandals around the extravagant and ostentatious lifestyles of the Fidesz leadership have highlighted the need to make politicians income and assets transparent.

  • The referendum question asks:  Should public officials who by law have to make an annual asset declaration also have to make their income tax returns public?

  • The referendum question asks: Should members of public officials’ households also have to make their assets public?

  • The referendum question asks: Should the land registry office be required to verify that all property purchases by public officials are publicly reported before the transaction is approved?

  • Fight corruption with the European Public Prosecutor’s Office: The Hungarian prosecutor’s office has proven time after time that it is not willing to investigate the blatant crimes committed by the Orban government.

  • The referendum question asks: should the government of Hungary support the creation of an European Prosecutors office?

  • Transparent public investments: The Orban government siphons off billions of forints in public investments by removing them from the normal tendering process and making them state secrets.

The referendum question asks: should all investments made with taxpayer or EU funds be public?

  • End the mandatory chamber membership fee: Hundreds of thousands of businesses are forced to pay an annual membership fee to the Chambers of commerce and industries. Besides being close to the government the chambers do not actually add any value.

  • The referendum question asks: should membership fees of the commercial chambers not be mandatory?

  • Transparent pension system: The government promised that everyone will receive a private pension account to see their individual contributions. We demand the government fulfills this promise and includes the funds lifted from the private pension fund in this account.

These referendum questions ask:

  • Should the individual pension accounts indicate the contributions prior to December 31, 2012?

  • Should the individual pension accounts state the contributions made to private pension funds between January 1st 1998 and November 1st 2010 and indicate the contributions made by citizens forced to return to the state system?

  • Reverse bypass road and highways tolls: Roads and highways built to move traffic away from inner cities were free for a reason. They helped improve the lives of people in areas affected by traffic and were good for the environment. The greedy Orban government recently introduced a new toll.

  • The referendum question asks: Should the roads and highways that were free to use before January 1st 2015 be made free again?

  • Renewable Energy: While the government is spending billions of the expansion of the Paks nuclear power plant it bars the growth of renewable green energy with a set of ridiculous laws.

  • The referendum question asks: Do you agree that parliament should pass legislation to implement and enforce the EU green energy directive 2009/28/EK?

  • End to the State monopoly of tobacco trade: The nationalisation of the tobacco trade has achieved two things: a massive explosion of the black market and the bankruptcy of about 2000 shops, affecting the livelihood of about  10000 people.

  • The referendum question asks: Should the retail of tobacco products be an exclusive state activity?

  • The Prime Minister’s office is not worth 200 Billion Forints! Viktor Orban would like to move his office to the Buda castle. This move will end up costing more than 200 billion Forints (ca 700M EUR). In comparison, the government spends 160B Forints annually to support the construction of social housing. The prime minister of Hungary is not a ruler; Viktor Orban is not a king – there is no need for him live that dream, esp not at the tax payer’s expense.

  • The referendum question asks: Should the Prime Minister be allowed to relocate in the Buda Castle district, which is a UNESCO world heritage site?

  • End to the exploitation of public workers! Hungarians on social welfare programs are forced into the public works programs, where they are exploited and humiliated. We demand that citizens participating in the public works programs are protected by the same rights as all other employees.

    • The referendum question asks: Do you agree that public workers receive the same rights as laid out in the employment law?

  • Right to education! Children have the right to go to school. We demand that the government restores the mandatory schooling up to the age of 18. Lowering of the mandatory schooling age to 16 has fostered the institutional discrimination of the impoverished Roma minority and has further curbed social mobility.

  • The referendum question asks: Should the mandatory schooling last up to the age of 18?

  • Hospital waiting lists should not be death panels! Nothing regulates the waiting lists patients have to endure. Today money and connections determine anyone’s medical treatments. This is despite the fact that the medical college has published guidelines on the clinical pathways for different medical conditions. We demand these guidelines to be enforced.

  • The referendum question asks: Do you agree that parliament elevates the guidelines on the treatment of illnesses by the medical college into law.

  • Culture is worth as much as football! Viktor Orban likes football, so much so, that billions of Forints are diverted uncapped to football clubs and their new stadiums. Subsidies for cultural institutions are capped by a share of their ticket sales. We demand that the same rules apply for football subsidies.

  • The referendum question asks: Do you agree that tax credits any of the select sports can receive are the same to cultural institutions?

  • Make the details of the Paks deal public! The Hungarian government plans to spend several thousand billion Forints on the expansion of the Paks Nuclear Power plant without sharing any information with the citizens who will pay for it. We have the right to know what our money is spent on.

  • The referendum question asks: Do you agree that all of the information on the financial agreement of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant expansion has to be released publicly?

  • Declassify the communist secret service files! Hungarian citizens have the right to know who and how collaborated with the communist secret service. Hungary is the only ex-communist country in the region, where these files are not accessible. The secret files are a source of mistrust, and are regularly used to blackmail political actors.

  • The referendum question asks: Do you agree, that anyone should have access and be allowed to publish files created between December 21st 1944 and February 14th 1990 by members and collaborators of the Interior Ministry’s III unit marked ‘secret’ and ‘strictly secret’,  including their identities, reports, notes and documents?

The above referendum questions have been submitted to the National Elections office by Balazs Gyulas, Tamas Lattmann and Zoltan Vajda.

About the Event

Speakers:

– Lajos Parti Nagy, writer

– Péter Závada, musician

– Zoltán Kész, independent MP he brought an end to the Fidesz supermajority

– Tamás Lattmann, professor of law

– Balázs Gulyás, 100K against the Internet Tax Facebook group

– Zoltán Vajda, 60K against the theft of the private pension funds

– János Kulka, actor

– Andrea Fullajtár, actor

– Emília Nagy, Network for free education

– Ágnes Pletser, Women’s right activist

– István Káposznyák, Solidarity movement

The event will be broadcasted live in full or partially ATV,  via http://www.atv.hu/elo-adas

About the Organizers:

  • 100K against the Internet Tax – https://www.facebook.com/Ne.legyen.Internetado

    • Lead by Balazs Gyulas, the group to have organized the first successful civic  protest that forced Orban to retreat on the Internet tax.

  • 60K – organizers of protests against the theft of private pension fund

Krytyka Polityczna
Krytyka Polityczna (Political Critique) is the largest Eastern European liberal network of institutions and activists. It consists of the online daily Dziennik Opinii, a quarterly magazine, publishing house, cultural centres in Warsaw, Łódź, Gdańsk and Cieszyn, activist clubs in a dozen cities in Poland (and also in Kiev and Berlin), as well as a research centre: the Institute for Advanced Study in Warsaw.

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