In Hungary, the parliament’s right is to decide on the country’s EU membership. Therefore, if an anti-EU political party gains a majority or even supermajority, it can declare a Huxit without a referendum. Today only right-radical Mi Hazánk says they would hold a referendum on the question. Other parties declare themselves pro-EU. But Jobbik believes Orbán’s Fidesz would like a Huxit. Therefore, they submitted a referendum question in which they are baulking at such a decision.
“Do you agree that parliament should not be allowed to support a proposal or motion that could result in Hungary leaving the European Union?”. That is the referendum question Márton Gyöngyösi, the newly-elected chairman of Jobbik and a non-attached member of the European Parliament (NI), submitted last week as a private individual. The referendum would prohibit the Hungarian parliament from approving a decision that could lead to Hungary’s exit from the European Union.
The will of the people is crucial when it comes to an issue of this magnitude, which can only be expressed through a referendum, Gyöngyösi told a press conference before submitting his question to the National Election Committee. He noted that his party had said during the 2019 European parliamentary election campaign that the stakes of that ballot would be whether Hungarians would allow “[Prime Minister] Viktor Orbán to drive Hungary out of the European Union”. He referred to Orbán’s Baile Tusnad (Tusnádfürdő) speech as a clear sign of that aim.
A Medián survey conducted this May concluded that the majority of Hungarian society would opt to remain in the European Union in a hypothetical referendum. Almost two-thirds would do so even if Viktor Orbán were campaigning for withdrawal. Exactly two-thirds of government voters would vote to remain in the EU. 55% would vote to stay even if Orbán was campaigning to leave, the survey said.
Gyöngyösi said in a Facebook post that a successful referendum would bind the government’s hand for three years on this issue despite their supermajority in the parliament.
That means Orbán’s Fidesz would not be able to vote for a Huxit in the parliament for three years after the referendum.
However, provided the referendum was invalid or unsuccessful nothing would change. The parliament would have the power to decide about a possible Huxit, just like now. Thus, there is no risk in initiating such a referendum, he cleared.
He said that Fidesz has the power to modify any laws, including the EU membership in Hungary. Therefore, as opposition MEP and leader of Jobbik, he has to use all possible tools to baulk a Huxit. “The strongest guarantee for that today is a successful referendum”, he insisted.
Disclaimer: the sole liability for the opinions stated rests with the author(s). These opinions do not necessarily reflect the official position of the European Parliament.
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