Budapest (MTI) – The opposition parties are deceiving themselves if they regard those who did not turn out to vote in Sunday’s referendum on migrant quotas as their own supporters, a Nézőpont Institute analyst told public television M1.
Sámuel Mráz Ágoston said around a million more voters now voted “no” than for the ruling Fidesz-Christian-Democrat parties in the 2014 general election. This shows that people saw the referendum as a national cause and did not vote according to party preference, he insisted.
He called the opposition’s campaign urging voters to boycott the referendum as “dangerous”, arguing there were now no guarantees that efforts to get out the vote in the 2018 general election would be successful.
Tamas Lánczi, analyst for the Századvég Foundation, predicted that the “no” camp would get around 3.1 to 3.2 million votes, which he said was similar to Fidesz’s share in the 2008 referendum, when the party was at the height of its popularity as an opposition party. Now, halfway through their second term in government, when a ruling party is typically at its lowest ebb in the polls, Fidesz achieved a similar result, he said.
Lánczi said that the opposition parties were “deceiving themselves” by “pretending” that those who had sat out the referendum were their voters. He said the opposition was “building a wall” between itself and voters by ignoring the votes of more than 3 million people.
Attila Juhász of Political Capital called the referendum outcome a “failure”, since, given its lack of validity, it would not suffice to put pressure on Brussels. He said that the most expensive Hungarian political campaign of all time had not been enough to produce a valid referendum. Nevertheless, Fidesz would only suffer a “Pyrrhic, momentary, defeat”.
He said the referendum had turned out to be invalid in vain, since the overwhelming proportion of “no” votes gave the government the opportunity to “evaluate the failure as a victory”. He cautioned that the opposition parties did not appear to be strong enough to override such an assessment by the government.
The failure, rather, will be registered at an international level, Juhász said. Even a valid referendum would not have overridden decisions accepted in the EU, he said. But an invalid result would not be good for putting political pressure on Brussels, he said, adding, however, that none of this means that the acceptance of binding migrant quotas is a done deal in the EU.