Hungary’s left-wing and liberal opposition parties have joined together to collect signatures for a referendum campaign that they hope will have a similar impact to the one that forced the government to back down on Hungary’s bid to hold the Olympic Games.
This time round, the issue is an environmental one and concerns a planned mobile levee along the banks of the Danube to the north of Budapest. Building the levee at the proposed site would mean cutting down a large number of established trees, and the Együtt and Párbeszed (Dialogue) initiatives backed by the Socialists, Democratic Coalition, Liberal Party, Momentum and the Hungarian Two-Tailed Dog party support an alternate plan further inland.
Együtt leader Péter Juhász said altogether 138,000 signatures must be collected in the timespan of 30 days for the plebiscite initiative to be valid.
“The opposition collaboration will succeed, and just as there will be no Olympics in Budapest, neither will there be a mobile levee on the Római banks of the Danube,” he said.
Tímea Szabó, co-leader of Párbeszéd, said cooperation by the various opposition forces and civil groups involved had been “unprecedented”. “People have understood that the issue of the Római mobile levee is not about cutting down a few trees but about not letting the Orbán government wreak destruction.”
As we wrote few weeks ago, the small opposition Együtt and Dialogue parties are preparing to run a joint campaign for 2018 general election.