Complaint aims to stop referendum against refugee quotas

History

Jessica Fejos

An anonymous complaint filed with the Constitutional Court seeks to prevent Hungary from holding a referendum on whether the populace supports the idea of refugee quotas for European Union countries, the court announced.

Young asylum seekers outside a Hungarian refugee camp. (Photo: Jessica Fejos)

The Constitutional Court has 30 days to review the complaint, as an extraordinary item, according to Botond Bitskey, the court’s general secretary. Bitskey told state-owned news agency MTI that the decree establishing the referendum can be challenged by anyone, and in this case it was done by a private individual who has chosen to remain unnamed.

When the referendum was approved on May 10, there was a 15-day period for challenging it. A challenge would have to object to the referendum for formal or procedural reasons, according to reports.

The referendum is supported by the Hungarian government, which has repeatedly voiced its objection to giving asylum to the wave of refugees streaming across Europe, even if the European Union “quota” system requires Hungary to take them in.

The referendum question reads: “Do you want the European Union to prescribe the settlement of non-Hungarian citizens into Hungary without the approval of the Hungarian Parliament?”

The referendum is due to take place in September or October. It is not clear what legal weight a national referendum might have on a quota required by the European Commission. But if the referendum is passed, it could certainly be used by Hungaryʼs government to claim they have the support of their people in opposing the EUʼs refugee quota.

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