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Fidesz MPs drop Jobbikʼs modified amendment

Elections

The Hungarian Parliament will not vote on far-right Jobbikʼs modified draft amendment to the Fundamental Law (constitution), originally submitted by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and rejected by Parliament, which would have set in stone the governmentʼs rejection of the European Union’s refugee settlement quotas, according to reports.

Jobbik modified the text of the original amendment submitted by Fidesz, which was rejected by Parliament, adding a single line that would have put an end to the selling of residency bonds, according to Hungarian news portal index.hu. As eight Fidesz MPs voted against bringing the proposal before Parliament, while three MPs (two Jobbik and one independent) voted in favor, Parliament will not vote on the modified proposal, index.hu added. 

Imre Vas of Fidesz said that Jobbik was unable to clearly word the sentence regarding the halt to sales of residency bonds, index.hu reported. The sentence was the only one that was not phrased by Fidesz, the online portal noted.

The original amendment was submitted after Hungary’s referendum on the issue of EU refugee settlement quotas produced an invalid result on October 2, with a two-thirds parliamentary majority required for the amendment’s passing. Before the vote, Jobbik gave an ultimatum to Fidesz to drop the residency bonds, which Fidesz promised to consider, but still no decision has been made.

Despite Hungaryʼs invalid referendum on the EUʼs refugee quotas, Orbán submitted a draft amendment in an attempt to legitimize the governmentʼs desired outcome. Despite the referendum failing to reach the 50% plus one vote threshold of participation required for it to be declared valid, Fidesz claimed success because a huge majority of the approximately 45% of electors who did take part in the referendum supported the governmentʼs position.

A Reuters report noted on November 8 that Jobbik had "held out a lifeline to Orbán" by saying it would still support the constitutional amendment if he scrapped the scheme allowing foreigners to buy residency rights. The report noted that the Fidesz presidency would meet to discuss its next move, but observed that "backing down to Jobbik would be politically difficult, as Orbánʼs chief of staff has previously described its demand as blackmail."

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