Hungarian PM Claims Referendum Victory

Budapest, – Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has declared victory in a referendum on mandatory EU migrant quotas, despite a low turnout that appeared to render it invalid.

Nearly 98% of those who took part supported the government’s call to reject the EU plan. But only 43% of the electorate voted, short of the 50% required to be valid, according to the (BBC).

A government spokesman said the outcome was binding “politically and legally” but the opposition said the government did not have the support it needed. Orban urged EU decision makers to take note of the result and said he would change Hungary’s constitution to make the decision binding.

The controversial EU plan to relocate 160,000 migrants across the bloc would mean Hungary receiving 1,294 asylum seekers. Ferenc Gyurcsany, leader of the opposition Democratic Coalition, said the low turnout showed that most people did not support the government. “According to this result with such low turnout, the people do not support the government. And this is good. The migration issue outreaches Hungarian borders.” But a government spokesman said the result could not be regarded as invalid.

“The government initiated the referendum, so both politically and legally the outcome is binding,” he said. “The 50% would have made a difference because parliament could have no alternative but to make a decision. But parliament is behind the government regarding the decision. This is a reinforced mandate for the government”.

Source: Qatar News Agency