Hungarian opposition parties promise referendum on deal with Russia to expand nuclear plant

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BUDAPEST, Hungary – Hungary’s left-wing opposition parties are promising that if they win April 6 elections they will hold a referendum on a government deal with Russia to expand the country’s only nuclear power plant.

Last month, Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed that Russia will build two new reactors at the Soviet-constructed plant in the southern city of Paks, which now supplies around 40 per cent of Hungary’s electricity.

Politicians in a left-wing electoral coalition, including former prime ministers Ferenc Gyurcsany and Gordon Bajnai, said Sunday at a rally that voters deserve more information about the deal and accused Orban of selling out to Russia.

Russia is also expected to provide a 30-year loan of some 10 billion euros ($13.5 billion), covering around 80 per cent of estimated construction costs.

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