Gyurcsany, several of whose own governing initiatives were thwarted by referendums, told a conference that the Fidesz-led governing alliance would be “cowards” if they refused to sanction such a referendum.
He said that the people already had a constitution, and the people have the right to give a definitive yes to it, he added.
The former Socialist leader who gave up power on a wave of unpopularity and amid the global economic crisis, said that the new constitution would be the most important threshold in Hungarian political life since the return to democracy in 1989-1990.
”We have to prepare to defend the 1989 constitution, and for this we must create a social and political democratic movement based on 1989; in other words we must organise a strong, principled and responsible opposition movement,” he said.
He added that the Socialists must continue to pursue a principled and responsible attitude to opposition because it is only such an opposition which can undertake responsible government.
Gyurcsany said that Viktor Orban, the centre-right prime minister, had replaced liberty with his own personal, moral and political convictions and his religious belief, and his Fidesz party ruled over people.
President Pal Schmitt said in early August that Hungary’s parliament would be in a position to vote on the new constitution as early as in spring next year. He said that components of the current constitution that have “stood the test of time” should be retained as part of the new document.
During a recent audience with the pope, Schmitt said he would like to see a reference to the Christian tradition and the Holy Crown in the new constitution.
Orban’s spokesman Peter Szijjarto told a news conference that attempts to bring back the “Gyurcsany period” were in vain because the Hungarian people had taken a clear decision and asked that none of the “failures” and “crimes” of the Gyurcsany period should be allowed ever again.
He accused Gyurcsany of having sold the country down the road and of having amassed debts of 2,800 billion forints (EUR 98 bn) which would now have to be paid back, depriving the country of financing for health care, education and pensions. It was now Fidesz’s job to put the country’s economy back on its feet, he added.
Szijjarto told MTI that current regulations would not allow a referendum to be called on the new constitution. He said that instead a broad consultation process would precede a vote in parliament.