The Kúria, Hungary’s supreme court, has upheld the Budapest Election Committee’s (FVB) decision to allow a referendum to go ahead on wheelchair accessibility to metro line 3, which is in the course of being refurbished.
In the legally binding ruling, the Kuria wrote on its website on Tuesday that
the referendum question lived up to the requirement for legal clarity and comprehensibility by the electorate.
Socialist Budapest Assembly member Csaba Horváth submitted the referendum bid in December. The question reads: “Do you support ensuring the full accessibility of all stations of the M3 metro line during its upgrade in 2017-2020 according to the provisions prescribed in Section 2 (1) of Act LXXVIII of 1997?”
Back then, Budapest deputy mayor Gábor Bagdy said in a statement that Horváth had submitted a “hastily-worded” referendum question, arguing that the upgrade of the metro line was in line with the provisions prescribed by law. Therefore the objective of the question he had submitted could be carried out even without a referendum, the deputy mayor said.
Ruling Fidesz reacted by saying that the opposition’s referendum initiative “has no credibility whatsoever”.
The mayor of Budapest reacted as well in December, stressing that he was not blocking a referendum, because Act LXXVIII of 1997 on the Formation and Protection of the Built Environment does not specify that elevators need to be built in order to ensure accessibility. Even if the referendum is valid and successful, it would still not mandate the construction of elevators, the mayor said. There is more than one technical solution for carrying out the metro upgrade so that it is in line with the 1998 law on equality and the rights of people with disabilities, he added.