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Nov 08, 2016

Parliament fails to pass constitutional amendment

The far-right Jobbik party sealed the bill's rejection by boycotting the vote. But it held out a lifeline by saying it would throw its support behind the ban if the government scrapped the residency bond scheme

Hungary's parliament has narrowly rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to ban the resettlement of migrants in the country, following a vote this morning.

In a rare parliamentary defeat, the government's proposed constitutional amendment won only 131 votes in the 199-seat parliament, just short of the necessary two-thirds majority of 133.

Reuters reports that the far-right Jobbik party sealed the bill's rejection by boycotting the vote. But it held out a lifeline by saying it would throw its support behind the ban if the government scrapped its residency bond scheme. The Fidesz party said its presidency would meet to discuss its next move and did not rule out the possibility of submitting the proposed amendment for another vote.

The prime minister had said the amendment was needed to honor an October referendum in which more than 3 million Hungarians, an overwhelming majority of those who voted, rejected EU quotas stipulating how many migrants member states must accept.

He said that even though the referendum was not legally binding because it did not cross the 50 percent threshold, it gave him a strong political mandate to stop Brussels imposing the measure.