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Orbán aims to legitimize referendum result

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is expected to bring proposed changes to the country’s Fundamental Law (constitution) before Parliament, in a bid to set in stone the non-binding result of last week’s government-initiated referendum on refugee quotas, according to reports. The changes are being proposed despite the referendum being declared invalid due to low turnout.

Under the proposal, it would be stated in the countryʼs Fundamental Law that no “foreign population” could be settled here en masse, as the European Commission proposes to do through its quota system, although settlement can take place once an individual’s request is evaluated according to the relevant regulations, Orbán said on state-owned Kossuth Radio yesterday, index.hu reported. 

Under current Hungarian law, a referendum is legally binding if participation passes the 50% plus one vote threshold, which means the government is required to prepare changes to the law. Despite the failure of the October 2 referendum to attain this threshold, governing party Fidesz claimed that as the majority of those voting - approximately 98% of the less than 45% eligible voters who took part - rejected the EC’s refugee settlement quota, which is still at the planning phase, the government is embodying the “will of Hungarians” in the constitution, according to reports.