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Right-wing editor calls Olympics referendum backers ‘traitors’

Those who lend their signatures to an initiative for Budapest to hold a referendum questioning the capital’s bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics are “traitors,” said András Bencsik, editor-in-chief of conservative Hungarian weekly Magyar Demokrata, in a televised debate on pro-government Echo TV Monday.

In a debate on Echo TV, the editor-in-chief said: “I have thought about this a thousand times whether I can say it or not and I have decided to say it, because I believe it is very important. Those who give their signatures are committing treason, it is better if they know this,” Hungarian online news portal 444.hu reported today.

The editor-in-chief of Magyar Demokrata said he believes that those who give their signature to support a referendum (thereby exercising their democratic right to express an opinion on a matter that concerns not just the capital, but the whole country) are “sinners.” He conceded that it would be an “exaggeration” to call it a “crime,” but if somebody does give their signature then they are committing a “tiny sin, but a sin, in the word’s spiritual meaning.”

In another talk show on the same television channel, Ágoston Sámuel Mráz, head of the Fidesz-friendly Nézőpont research institute, suggested that Paris and Los Angeles, the other cities still competing for the bid against Budapest, might be behind Momentum Mozgalom, the civil organization initiating the referendum, although he provided no evidence to back such a claim.