The National Election Office (NVI) officially declared Hungary’s migrant quota referendum invalid, as the number of valid votes cast did not reach the 50% -plus-one threshold. NVI chief Ilona Pálffy said after 99% of the votes had been counted that the number of valid votes was 3.34 million. The referendum would have required just over 4.1 million valid votes for it to have been declared valid. However, 220,000 voted invalidly and only 3.3 million voted “no” and 55,000 voted “yes” across the country. 98,33 % of the valid votes were “no”, while 1,67% said “yes”. In the referendum voters were asked: “Do you want to allow the European Union to mandate the resettlement of non-Hungarian citizens to Hungary without the approval of the National Assembly?”
Despite the turnout was below the 50%-plus-one vote required for the vote to be valid, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán insisted that an overwhelming majority of Hungarians rejected European Union’s binding migrant quotas in Sunday’s referendum, therefore he would submit a constitutional amendment proposal to parliament with a view to cementing “the will of the people in the constitution”. The EU proposes allowing migrants in and distributing them among member states, Orbán said, stressing that in the referendum Hungarians had made clear that only they can decide with whom they live. “Brussels or Budapest. That was the question. And we decided that the right to decide lies solely with Budapest,” he said, adding that Sunday’s popular vote was the first important step of a “long journey” ahead. Hungary would have to fight many tough battles along the way, he added.
“We can be proud that we Hungarians were the first and so far only member state in the EU to voice our opinion on the issue of migration,” Orbán said. The Hungarian Premier hailed the result “outstanding”, noting that the number of votes cast for the “no” side had exceeded the number of votes cast in favour of Hungary joining the EU in 2004. Turnout was 15% higher than in the last European parliamentary election in 2014, he added. Orbán insisted the referendum outcome must be enforced in Brussels. “The question is simple,” Orbán said. “Can Brussels, the democratic community of European states, force its will onto a member state in which more than 90% of participating voters reject that will?” He vowed to do everything to make sure that this would not happen. “The weapon will be strong enough in Brussels.”
via hungarymatters.hu and MTI photos: MTI