If the united opposition wins next spring’s general election and forms Hungary’s next government, LMP as a member of it will press for restoring the autonomy of the country’s universities, the party’s group leader said on Wednesday.
“One of the vilest things the government has done this past year, if not during its entire term”, has been to restructure universities and “place them under political control”, László Lóránt Keresztes told an online press conference. He made reference to the “model changing” scheme under which over 20 Hungarian universities have shifted from being state-run to being operated by an asset management foundation. “It is clear that the entire programme has been about anything but a model change,” he said, insisting the structural transformation “was a lie” and resulted in “trampling on university autonomy”.
The group leader said it was not true that the replacement of the university managers served the objective of developing the country’s higher education system with a view to making it more competitive. “It was also a lie that the universities have themselves asked for their conversion into a new structure as much as it was a lie by the government that they would respect the universities’ autonomy,” Keresztes said. Meanwhile, government party lawmakers decided in parliament to approve the construction of “a campus of the Chinese Communist Party’s” elite Fudan University in Budapest with several hundreds of billions of forints paid by Hungarian taxpayers, the group leader said. “This is a symbolic issue and this is why the opposition’s referendum initiative for repealing the relevant law is highly important,” he said.