Budapest, October 4 (MTI) – A constitutional amendment supported by the ruling Fidesz party will seek to introduce changes in view of Sunday’s referendum results, in which 98 percent voted against the EU’s mandatory quota regime, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Tuesday.
The results of the referendum have created a new cross-party bloc in Hungary which regards the protection of sovereignty a national issue, Orbán told a press conference in the parliament. The 3.3 million people who voted “no” included one million who probably support other parties, which shows that this was a national issue, Orbán said. He added that these people did not vote against migrants or the European Union, but for the appropriate handling of a modern-age wave of migration.
“The decision of the people must be enforced in parliament,” Orbán insisted.
The constitutional amendments proposed include a clear statement on preventing Brussels from ordering the resettlement of migrants to Hungary under a resolution without the consent of the Hungarian parliament; it includes banning mandatory group resettlements, and stating that the resettlement of people without the right to free movement and stay in Hungary can only take place on the basis of individual requests assessed by the Hungarian authorities in procedures outlined in Hungarian laws enacted by parliament.
The proposed changes will be reviewed in a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Orbán said.
Asked how he perceived the vote on the changes requiring a two-thirds majority, Orbán said he believes that lawmakers will “move along the right scenario”. He added that a 50 percent turnout in the referendum would have validated “voters’ voices in themselves,” but at 43 percent turnout parliament needs “to give an extra push”. A referendum and a constitutional amendment together offer a stronger position than a referendum alone, he said, adding that he “cannot imagine that Brussels would decide against a majority of 98 percent of people”.
Lajos Kósa, the head of Fidesz’s parliamentary group, told the press conference that the government must submit the proposed amendments to parliament by October 10, a debate would be scheduled for October 17 and a vote for November 8. The amendments may take force by mid-November. Five-party talks will also be held on the issue, he added.
Jobbik party leader Gábor Vona said that his party would support a constitutional amendment aimed to enhance Hungary’s security. He added, however, that Orbán’s proposal is identical with Jobbik’s earlier initiative. As a party dedicated to issues concerning the nation, Jobbik will take part in the five-party talks initiated by Fidesz, Vona said.
The opposition Socialists said the ruling Fidesz party’s proposal to amend the constitution is illegitimate, and warned Orbán and his party not to use an invalid referendum for justifying a decision which affects the future of ten million people. Party group leader Bertalan Tóth said that Orbán and Fidesz had not got an authorisation from the majority of voters in Sunday’s referendum on migrant quotas as 5 million people decided not to participate. Fidesz should not ignore people who expressed their opinion by staying at home, he said.
The green opposition LMP party’s spokesman József Gál said the referendum will not solve problems connected to migration. LMP will not participate in a “political farce” that only serves to enable the government to sweep important issues such as health care, poverty, emigration, labour shortage and widespread corruption under the carpet.
The opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) said it would stay away from the parliamentary debate and vote about a planned constitutional amendment backed by ruling Fidesz and called on all opposition parties to follow suit. Deputy party leader Csaba Molnár aid the message of Sunday’s invalid referendum on European Union migrant quotas was clear: Hungarians did not give an authorisation to Orban for any form of legislation concerning migration. Those who participate in the planned constitutional amendment will go against the will of the public, he said.