Blog: Yellow Card to Hungary’s Backsliding PM, EU Trans-boundary Crisis on Hold

October 6, 2016

Nick Sitter wrote a piece about the October 2 Hungarian referendum on EU migrant qoutas for the TransCrisis blog.

In the four-month long referendum campaign, Orbán made much of the need to ‘send Brussels a message that they too can understand’ – as government billboards proclaimed in July. If this was indeed the main motivation for the referendum, then it failed twice over.

Although 3,282,928 ‘No’ ballots were cast in favour the government’s policy (98% of the valid votes), the referendum was invalid because it failed to reach the required 50% turnout. A valid referendum was the prime minister’s own criterion for success. He abandoned this only in the run-up to the referendum, when opinion polls began to indicate that many voters might stay at home. On the day, the government’s own criteria for success was simply a 'No' result. As expected, it achieved this. Indeed, in some districts not a single 'Yes' vote was cast. But the low turnout – only 40% of voters turned up and cast a valid ballot – makes it difficult for Orbán to try to impress 'Brussels' with his new mandate.

Full article is available at the TransCrisis blog.