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Hungary referendum on Hitler-ally park name fails

Published on Jan 7, 2013 6:01 AM
 
Picture taken on May 24, 2012 shows a woman holding her baby as she sits on a bench in Freedom square in Gyomro, Hungary. Gyomro held a closely-watched referendum Son Jan 6, 2013 over the naming of the park after Hungary's leader between the world wars and an ally of Adolf Hitler. The park was named after Miklos Horthy last year following a motion by the far-right nationalist Jobbik party, the third-largest in parliament, but angry locals forced a referendum in the small town of Gyomro. -- PHOTO : AFP 

BUDAPEST (AFP) - Residents of a small Hungarian town failed to stop a park from taking on the name of the country's Nazi-allied wartime leader, after too few voters turned out for a Sunday referendum.

The park in Gyomro, on the outskirts of Budapest, was named after Miklos Horthy last year following a motion by the far-right nationalist Jobbik party, the third-largest in parliament.

Angry locals forced the referendum, but it was declared invalid after only 18 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots, the state news agency MTI reported. A large majority of those who did vote however were against the Horthy name change.

Horthy, an autocrat who ruled from 1920 to 1944 when he was deposed by Nazi Germany, passed anti-Jewish laws, brought the country into an uneasy alliance with Hitler and was in charge when its Jews began being deported to death camps. But the late leader is revered by some as a hero after a short-lived communist revolution in 1919 and the traumatic loss of two-thirds of its territory at the 1920 Trianon Peace Treaty.

 
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