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Referendum on Sunday shop closures gets green light, after all

March 3rd, 2016

Commenting on the decision by the National Election Commission, analysts at Index believe the opposition could still profit from a potential referendum on the Sunday shop ban – even if the question submitted by a Socialist MP was botched  with 7 votes against 5.

On Monday, the National Election Commission validated the referendum initiative on a Sunday shopping ban submitted by Mrs László Erdősi with the help of ‘burly men , seconds ahead of MSZP MP István Nyakó (see BudaPost February 25). The Commission stated that the presence of security guards was an infringement of the rules, but found no evidence that they physically prevented Mr Nyakó from submitting his initiative first. The content of the two initiatives are quite similar. The one asks whether the shops should remain closed on Sundays, while the other asks for the ban on Sunday shop closure to be abolished by Parliament. The big question is whether Mrs Erdősi will be able – or willing – to collect the required 200 thousand signatures. The National Electgion Commission’s decision can be appealed at the Kúria.

The Sunday shop ban has become a symbolic issue that Fidesz rightly fears, Szabolcs Dull and József Spirk comment in Index. Although it is not clear if Ms Erdősi cooperated with the governing party, Fidesz would definitely prefer to get the Sunday shop closure off the public agenda, the authors explain. They recall recent polls according to which 59 to72 per cent of Hungarians oppose the shopping ban. Although the shop closure is a rather unimportant issue in itself, the MSZP could use the referendum to unite and strengthen voter discontent with the current government, Dull and Spirk conclude.

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