Budapest, September 23 (MTI) – Ruling Fidesz has been putting pressure on the local assemblies to support a “no” vote in the Oct. 2 European Union quota referendum, threatening to withdraw municipal funding if they refuse, Ferenc Gerstmar, a spokesman for the opposition LMP party said on Friday.
“This is unacceptable,” Gerstmar told a press conference, adding that Fidesz had reportedly ordered Fidesz leaders in each constituency to maximise the “no” vote. These Fidesz officials sometimes turn to local mayors, demanding their public support for the government’s campaign and suggesting that funding to their village or town could depend on the result of the referendum.
LMP believes it is reasonable to assume that local council decisions on referendum-related issues are put on a list and localities are assessed based on their stance on the EU resettlement quota. Gerstmar said these methods were “unacceptable” and reminiscent of the single-party system.
“This is an attack on the political independence of local government,” he said.
LMP also condemned the practice of local councils spending on the campaign from their own budgets. For instance, Budapest’s Jozsefvaros district has put aside 10 million forints (EUR 32,600) while Tatabanya, in central Hungary, will spend 3.5 million forints, Gerstmar said.