Budapest (MTI) – The Socialist Party plans to launch its campaign for Hungary’s migrant quota referendum on September 1, party leader Gyula Molnár announced on Monday.
In the campaign, the party will urge voters to abstain from voting on Oct 2, Molnár said in Nyíregyháza, in north-eastern Hungary.
“We are deliberately avoiding the word ‘boycott’,” Molnár said.
“We accept the institution of the referendum and acknowledge that it is an important democratic tool,” he added.
Molnár said the party does, however, want to be on the vote counting and election committees and wants to participate in monitoring the voting process.
He reiterated his party’s stance that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his ruling Fidesz party are using the referendum to pave the way for Hungary’s exit from the European Union.
For the Socialist Party, the referendum is about saying “no” to the prime minister’s political and tactical goals and saying “yes” to Europe, Molnár insisted.
In the referendum Hungarians will be asked: “Do you want to allow the European Union to mandate the resettlement of non-Hungarian citizens to Hungary without the approval of parliament?”
Molnár said that a victory for the “no” vote would “move things in an impossible direction” while a win for the “yes” vote would just legitimise the referendum. He suggested that the referendum would have little impact, if any.
He noted that Hungary joined the EU under a Socialist-led government in 2004, adding that in 2016 it will be the Socialist Party that “defends Hungary and its EU membership”. He said those who agree with this will have no choice but to stay away from the referendum so that the turnout is below the 50 percent validity threshold.
Csaba Dömötör, state secretary of the prime minister’s cabinet office, responded to Molnár’s remarks saying that the left was “still pro-immigration”.
Gyula Molnár’s remarks clearly indicate that the Socialists are still refusing to clarify whether they are for or against the “forced settlement” of migrants in Hungary, Dömötör told MTI. “Their call for a boycott of the referendum is irrefutable proof of this,” he added. Dömötör said a parliamentary party could rightfully be expected to be “honest” in matters that significantly impact the future of Europe and Hungary.