Opposition fears referendum may trigger Hunxit


Hungarian opposition parties yesterday expressed concerns that the wrong result in Hungary’s October 2 referendum on the EC’s refugee quota policy could pave the way for the country’s exit of the European Union, according to reports.

The referendum will ask Hungarian voters to say “yes” or “no” to the following question: “Do you want to allow the European Union to mandate the resettlement of non-Hungarian citizens to Hungary without the approval of Parliament?”

The referendum was initiated by the Hungarian government, which has been critical of the European Commission’s proposal to make EU member states accept a certain quota of refugees. Hungarian President János Áder scheduled the referendum for October 2.

While the government has said that Brussel’s refugee policy is the main reason that U.K. citizens voted to leave the EU in their June 23 referendum, Hungarian opposition parties expressed the fear that this country’s quota referendum could lead to Hungary following suit.

Opposition Socialist deputy president Zoltán Gőgös during a press conference yesterday urged Hungarian citizens to “stay at home, so we [Hungary] can remain in the European Union”.

Under the Hungarian law, a referendum in the country can be valid if more than half of the citizens with eligibility to vote participate in the referendum, and if more than half of the voters picked the same question, which is in this case a yes or no one.

Opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) said the referendum was “the beginning of Hungary leaving the EU”. Csaba Molnár of DK told MTI yesterday that the referendum could set the groundwork for Hungary exiting the union, and therefore the politician urged DK supporters to stay home without voting.

Dialogue for Hungary (PM) opposition party, in an announcement sent to MTI, termed the referendum “nonsense” and “invalid”, and called it a distraction from “real problems, such as poverty, low incomes, unfair divergence of income, deteriorating health care and education”.

Opposition Together (Együtt) party maintained that the referendum is against the interests of the country. Együtt said the referendum is “intended to boost the power and wealth of the government leader,” as the government uses the “refugee issue for its own political reasons”. The party said that “Viktor Orbán’s populist politics can only lead to regression and lack of progress for Hungary”.

Far-right radical Jobbik said it supports the referendum, calling on to its supporters to vote against the quota. In an announcement sent to MTI, the party calls the quota system a “nonsense diktat of Brussels”. The party said the rejection of the quota system should be added to Hungary’s fundamental law, without a referendum, as it would be a faster and cheaper option.

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, a proponent of the referendum, said on June 24, the day after the Brexit referendum, that Hungary is committed to the EU, although Brussels needs to listen to the citizens more, and should change its refugee policy, because without change, it would lead to the end of the bloc as we know it.

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