HUN-2015-3-006
a)  Hungary / b)  Constitutional Court / c) / d)  24-09-2015 / e)  28/2015 / f)  On the referendum initiative on early retirement of men / g)  Magyar Közlöny (Official Gazette), 2015/137 / h) .
 
Keywords of the systematic thesaurus:
 
 
Constitutional Justice - Jurisdiction - Types of litigation - Litigation in respect of referendums and other instruments of direct democracy .
Constitutional Justice - Decisions - Delivery and publication - Publication.
Fundamental Rights - Equality - Scope of application - Social security.
Fundamental Rights - Equality - Criteria of distinction - Gender.
Fundamental Rights - Economic, social and cultural rights - Right to a pension.
 
Keywords of the alphabetical index:
 
Retirement, age, gender, equality / Referendum, pension / Referendum, limitation.
 
Headnotes:
 
Women have the right to preferential treatment, especially in the field of the right to a pension, and this right follows from the Fundamental Law.
 
Summary:
 
I. A union leader proposed a referendum on the subject of allowing men who have worked for forty years to retire with full benefits. The question is whether men and women should be entitled to the same rights to early retirement, i.e. after forty years of employment. The National Election Committee had refused the authentication of the question in the signature-collecting sheets concerning the referendum on early retirement rights. Later Hungary’s Supreme Court (the Curia) overrode the decision of the National Election Committee. Following the Curia’s ruling, trade unions began collecting the 200,000 signatures required by law for calling a referendum, but several women and lobby groups representing women submitted complaints to the Constitutional Court.
 
II. The Constitutional Court declared that the Curia’s ruling was unconstitutional and annulled it. The Court made an early announcement due to the on-going collection of signatures and published the reasoning of the decision at a later point. The Court’s decision meant that a referendum could not be held on the issue.
 
The Constitutional Court first examined whether the question to be put to a referendum was to be held fell into the category that was not allowed to be included in a referendum by the Fundamental Law. According to Article 8.3.b of the Fundamental Law, no referenda may be held on the central budget, the implementation of the central budget, central taxes, duties, contributions, customs duties, or the content of Acts determining the central conditions for local taxes. The Court argued that any such changes to the pension system have an effect of the state budget, since lowering the age for obtaining an old-age pension of men would increase the amount the state budget should cover.
 
The Court also examined whether the question was to be held against the principle of equality. Article XV.2 of the Fundamental Law stipulates that «Hungary shall guarantee the fundamental rights to everyone without any discrimination, in particular on grounds of sex». Women entitled to special protection in accordance with Articles XV.5 and  XIX.4 of the Fundamental Law. Under provision Article XV.5 of the Fundamental Law, Hungary shall take special measures to protect, among others, women. Article XIX.4 of the Fundamental Law reads that «Hungary shall contribute to ensuring a livelihood for the elderly by maintaining a unified state pension system based on social solidarity and by allowing for the operation of voluntarily established social institutions. The conditions of entitlement to state pension may be specified by an Act also in view of the requirement for increased protection for women». As a result, women have the right to preferential treatment, especially in the field of the right to a pension, and this right follows from the Fundamental Law. This constitutional right would have been violated in the case of a successful referendum.
 
Languages:
 
Hungarian.