Budapest, September 23 (MTI) – Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will not publicly debate opposition Jobbik leader Gábor Vona, who has challenged him to a debate on the Oct. 2 referendum on European Union migrant quotas alongside Gyula Molnár, leader of the Socialist Party, Orbán’s press chief said on Friday.
The prime minister holds the view that the referendum is an issue of national significance that transcends party politics, and that is why he will not participate in a public debate, Bertalan Havasi told MTI. Vona told a press conference earlier today that he wanted the debate because it is normal for party leaders in “a civilised country” to air their views before highly important events such as the upcoming referendum.
“Viktor Orbán has been shying away from participating in a public political debate for the past ten years, so it would be welcome if he now appeared again in public to present his arguments,” Vona said, adding that such a debate could even help Orbán if he really values a high turnout.
Concerning the quota scheme, Vona said multiculturalism “has no place” in the country. Hungarians should vote “no” in the referendum, he said.
Jobbik, however, wants a constitutional amendment on the issue rather than a national ballot.
Vona insisted that the prime minister carried the burden of responsibility for the referendum: if it turns out to be invalid, Brussels will have “written proof” of Hungary’s failed rejection of the quota scheme.
“In that case Viktor Orbán must resign,” he said.
Socialist leader Gyula Molnár said he is ready to take part in the public debate.
“Such a debate makes sense, particularly now, in the current state of the country,” he said on his Facebook page, suggesting that beside migration, the issues of education, health care and poverty should also be addressed.