Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s failed referendum against EU refugee quotas brought him harsh attacks at home and dismissal abroad. Orban suffered a stinging domestic rebuke to his anti-refugee campaign on Sunday, when his pet referendum drew just 40 percent of eligible voters, rendering the plebiscite invalid. At least 50 percent turnout was needed. Still, more than 98 percent of those who cast a ballot supported Orban’s anti-refugee stance. Toth Csaba, an analyst at the Republikon Institute in Budapest, called the results a failure for a prime minister who put considerable resources into swaying public opinion ahead of the plebiscite. “It’s more of loss for the government,” Csaba said. “Expectations were very high, and the government put forth a massive spending campaign to support it.” Orban had called the referendum to boost his political standing at home – and to taunt Brussels and Berlin over a program that has been essentially discarded. Last year the European Union announced plans to introduce a system to distribute more than 1 million migrants among member states.
Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Hungary.
Low voter turnout invalidated Hungary’s referendum on European Union refugee quotas, even though citizens voted overwhelmingly in support of the government’s opposition to any future, mandatory EU plans to relocate asylum-seekers. The government claimed a “sweeping victory,” but analysts said that the result was an “embarrassing but not totally catastrophic defeat” for Prime Minister Viktor Orban. “We can be proud that we are the first and so far only member state of the European Union” to hold such a referendum, Orban told supporters after the results were known. “Hungarians were able to give their direct opinions on the issue of immigration.”
Prime Minister Viktor Orban is asking Hungarians to reject quotas for the settlement of refugees in a referendum that may solidify his power at home and boost his leverage in an increasingly divided Europe. Polls show overwhelming support for a “no” vote backed by Orban, leaving turnout as the main hurdle for the premier, who needs at least 50 percent participation to make the referendum binding. The question on the ballot is “Do you want the European Union to be able to order the mandatory settlement of non-Hungarian citizens in Hungary without parliament’s consent?” European leaders have sought to show unity this month after a tumultuous year for the region, with the biggest wave of refugees since World War II and the U.K.’s vote to leave the EU tearing at the seams of the bloc. Orban has been the staunchest opponent of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door policy and he may use the vote to showcase support for his zero-immigration approach. The Hungarian prime minister is also looking to harness political momentum before parliamentary elections in 2018, where he’ll seek a third consecutive term.
Hungary: National Election Office: 18 percent of mail-in ballots spoiled in Hungarian referendum | Hungarian Free Press
Hungary’s National Election Office has processed 32,254 mail-in ballots for the Sunday referendum against EU-wide “migrant quotas” and has deemed that 18% of them (5,708) were spoiled by voters. Hungarians living abroad and holding dual citizenship are eligible to vote by mail-in ballot, but thus far only 28% of the 274,573 registered voters have chosen to participate in the October 2nd referendum. The National Election Office will continue to both receive and process mail-in ballots on Thursday and Friday, but participation among those who live abroad and hold dual citizenship is far below the 50% +1 threshold. It’s hard to tell if the large number of spoiled ballots are deliberate, or merely an indication that Hungarians living abroad are not completing their voting packages as per the National Election Office’s instructions. It takes several steps to cast a valid mail-in vote. Voters must complete a declaration form with their name, date of birth and other personal information, and must include this form alongside their completed mail-in ballot, but must not place it together with their ballot into the small white envelope (which goes into the larger self-addressed and stamped envelope) that voters have been provided.
Amnesty International on Tuesday accused Hungary of mistreating refugees and migrants on purpose to deter them from seeking to cross into the European Union from Serbia, days before the country holds a referendum on EU migrant quotas. The Hungarian government had no immediate comment on the report in which the human rights organization accused Prime Minister Viktor Orban of replacing “the rule of law with the rule of fear.” Critics say Hungary has been heavy-handed in answer to the migrant crisis that saw about 1.3 million people reaching the European Union last year. Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said Hungary should be expelled from the bloc for breaching European values, including erecting a razor-wire fence along its border with Serbia.
Hungary: Hungarians Caught Between National Referendum And European Union Migrant Quotas | Eurasia Review
Europeans have not talked so much about European affairs as they have since the summer of 2016. After the clap of thunder generated by Brexit, another storm is building up and heading towards Brussels. Indeed, another European Union (EU) member state is speaking out against EU politicians, leading to a situation seen equally as the EU attempting to defy the sovereignty of its member states and vice versa. In just a matter of weeks Hungary will hold a referendum on October 2, with ruling fight-wing Fidesz asking Hungarians if they accept the migrants relocation mechanism created by the European Commission under the head of Jean-Claude Juncker. It is no surprise that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who is generally described as a populist and constantly on the outlook for scapegoats, uses the tool of referendum to legitimize its decisions rather epically. Marine Le Pen, leader of the French National Front, also announced that she would be consulting the French volk more often if she would be elected in the 2017 presidential election.
Hungary will hold a government-initiated referendum on Oct. 2 seeking political support to oppose any European Union efforts to resettle refugees among its member states, the office of President Janos Ader said Tuesday. Ader’s office said that the question to be asked in the referendum will be: “Do you want the European Union to prescribe the mandatory settlement of non-Hungarian citizens in Hungary even without the consent of Parliament?” Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who staunchly opposes immigration, said earlier that a “no” vote would be “in favor of Hungary’s independence and rejecting the mandatory settlement plan.”
Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party was the clear winner in Sunday’s nationwide municipal elections, with its candidates winning the mayor’s post in Budapest, the capital, and in 20 of Hungary’s 23 largest cities. Speaking to supporters after preliminary results were announced, Orban vowed to “make Hungary great” in the upcoming years and boasted of winning elections for the third time this year, after victories in the national elections and for the European Parliament. The far-right Jobbik, trying to distance itself from earlier anti-Roma and racist statements, finished mostly far behind Fidesz but ahead of the left-wing opposition in most rural areas. Jobbik won in nine smaller cities, up from three in 2010.
Hungary: The 2014 Hungarian parliamentary elections, or how to craft a constitutional majority | Washington Post
Last weekend’s parliamentary elections in Hungary should have been a major event, at least within the European Union and the United States. Over the past four years the E.U. and the United States have criticized the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán for its authoritarian, conservative and nationalist tendencies. These were institutionalized in the new constitution, which the government rammed through the toothless Hungarian parliament, in which the national-conservative Fidesz-KDNP party coalition held a constitutional majority. Scores of domestic and foreign observers have highlighted the many problematic parts of the constitution, although very little has been changed as a consequence of these critiques. But these are not ordinary times. The United States is preoccupied with the situation in Ukraine, while the E.U. is crippled by the lingering economic crisis and fears of an anti-European backlash in European elections next month. As a consequence, the Hungarian elections received little special attention from the E.U. and U.S. elite, despite widespread fears that another victory for Orbán, dubbed the “Viktator” by domestic critics, could lead to permanent damage to Hungary’s still-young liberal democracy.
Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz party coasted to a clear victory in last weekend’s Hungarian election, as expected. The governing party got 45% of the vote, but the new “rules of the game” turned this plurality vote into two thirds of the seats in the parliament. A continuing two-thirds parliamentary majority allows Orbán to govern without constraint because he can change the constitution at will. But this constitution-making majority hangs by a thread. Orbán’s mandate to govern is clear because his party got more votes than any other single political bloc. What is not legitimate, however, is his two-thirds supermajority. Orbán was certainly not supported by two-thirds of Hungarians – nowhere close. In fact, a majority gave their votes to other parties. Orbán’s two-thirds victory was achieved through legal smoke and mirrors. Legal. But smoke and mirrors.