Sep 29, 2016

Hungary's referendum from an outside perspective

The referendum on October 2nd is to enable the Hungarian people to have their say, protect their country and tell Brussels that they don't want to be forced to take in asylum seekers

Hungarians will vote on Sunday in a referendum which Prime Minister Viktor Orbán hopes will give his government the popular support it seeks to oppose any future plans by the European Union to resettle asylum seekers among its member states.

Fox News has today taken an indepth look at what's at stake during the October 2 referendum:

What the Prime Minister Wants

According to Fox News, PM Orbán wants to stop the influx of large numbers of Muslim migrants into Europe, arguing they threaten Hungary and Europe's Christian identity and culture. Midway through his third term as prime minister, he suggested last week that the EU should build a "gigantic refugee city" in Libya, to where migrants would be deported from Europe to file their asylum claims.

PM Orbán says the EU needs to strengthen its borders to keep out migrants, like Hungary did last year by building fences on its southern borders with Serbia and Croatia.

The referendum's question is "Do you want the European Union to be able to prescribe the mandatory settlement of non-Hungarian citizens in Hungary even without the consent of Parliament?"

Orbán says "no" votes favor Hungary's sovereignty and independence. He also hopes popular pressure will encourage other EU countries to take similar steps.

Voter Turnout

At least 50 percent plus one of Hungary's 8.27 million voters need to cast valid ballots for the referendum to be valid.

Despite government billboards, advertisements and personal appearances by ministers and lawmakers nationwide urging people to vote, polls show validity is by no means assured, even though "no" votes are expected to be in the large majority.


Nearly 400,000 migrants passed through Hungary last year, making their way toward western Europe. Yet, the criticized razor-wire fences and new expulsion policies have proven effective.

During the first four weeks of September, police reported either zero or just one migrant breaching the border area on 12 different days.

Last year, Hungary granted asylum to only 508 refugees and a similar number is expected this year.

The Reality

According to Fox News, the disadvantaged Roma minority, pensioners, young families with children and people living in municipal housing are among those being warned repeatedly of what could happen if Hungary is required to take in refugees.

According to government officials, they may face subsidy or pension cuts, become victims of terrorism and violent acts or be forced to give up their homes if that happens.

What's Next?

According to Fox News, the government has not yet confirmed what consequences a valid referendum supporting its position will have. It has mentioned possible amendments to the constitution and other laws that will help the Hungarian people.

The referendum on October 2nd is to enable the Hungarian people to have their say, protect their country and tell Brussels that they don't want to be compelled to take in asylum seekers.

Read more here.