The latest Orbán stunt: A referendum on “compulsory settlement” of refugees

This morning I was surprised to find an “invitation” to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s press conference, to be held today at 13:00, in my inbox. I am, I presume along with many others, entitled to watch the press conferences of government officials and politicians. My first thought was “Orbán is giving a press conference? What’s so important?”

It turned out that the announcement was about holding a referendum that would allow the electorate to vote on the following question: “Do you want the European Union, without the consent of Parliament, to order the compulsory settlement of non-Hungarian citizens in Hungary?” Orbán gave the press conference in the middle of a cabinet meeting, emphasizing the import of the announcement.

He focused on the ideas of loyalty and independence. Voting against this question will be a proof of loyalty to the country. “Because how could be someone be loyal as long as others decide the most important questions?” It doesn’t matter how hard I try to follow Orbán’s logic, I can’t see the connection between loyalty and the matter on hand. As for independence, all those who say no to this proposition “stand by the independence of this country.” Reuters noted that, in addition, Orbán claimed that the government is “responding to public sentiment” because “we Hungarians think that introducing resettlement quotas for migrants without the backing of the people equals an abuse of power.” Orbán gravely announced that he was aware of possible ramifications of the referendum, especially if Hungarians say “no” to the quotas.

Feeling confident and important

Feeling confident and important

Apparently the European Commission refused to comment on the announcement, saying simply that the Hungarian government should first clarify what this referendum is all about. A very wise decision because there is a possibility that the whole referendum announcement is a canard. Speaking out against the refugees who threaten the existing Christian order is a winning ticket, as the polls during 2015 clearly showed. Orbán would like to keep the Hungarians’ fear and hatred of the refugees alive. That’s why the government has been collecting signatures in the last few months against quotas preferred by Angela Merkel and that’s also most likely why he came up with the idea of a referendum on the subject.

There are all kinds of legal hurdles, taking months to overcome, before a referendum can be held. Even if Orbán’s faithful servants speed up the process at every level, I would be surprised if a plebiscite on the issue could be held before late summer or fall at the earliest. And even if all the legal hurdles are behind them, which is not at all certain, there is the new law on plebiscites that makes it almost impossible to hold a valid one. Half of the approximately 8 million voters would have to turn out, which, given the low level of enthusiasm of the Hungarian electorate for voting in general, is highly unlikely. In addition, the government would need a little more than 2 million citizens to vote against the proposition. Fidesz may boast about the 2 million signatures it collected against the quotas, but this achievement is irrelevant if other less enthusiastic voters simply ignore the plebiscite. Of course, it is possible, as Ildikó Lendvai pointed out, that Fidesz will change the law and restore the 25% minimum turnout for a valid referendum. Anything is possible. These people are shameless.

However, it is possible that there will never be a plebiscite on the quotas because it might be ruled unconstitutional. The new basic law of 2011 clearly says that “no national referendum may be held on … any obligation arising from an international agreement.” (Article 8) And even if it is ruled constitutional, Article 19 states that “Parliament may ask the Government for information on its position to be adopted in the decision-making process of the European Union’s institutions operating with the Government’s participation, and may express its position about the draft on the agenda in the procedure. In the European Union’s decision-making process, the Government shall take Parliament’s position into consideration.” In plain language, parliament has no direct jurisdiction over the dealings between Hungary and the European Union, at best an advisory role. It is the Hungarian government’s sole prerogative to negotiate with the institutions of the European Union. So, it’s no wonder that even the ever-faithful George Schöpflin, a Fidesz member of the European Parliament ever since 2004, bluntly told Népszabadság that “the Hungarian referendum has no legal influence on EU decisions, or at least he doesn’t know about such.”

But there are other problems as well. The text of the proposed question is sloppy and not at all clear. According Boldizsár Nagy, a very good legal scholar, the question is so badly formulated that it might not pass the first legal hurdle, the National Election Commission, unless the Commission is filled with “lackeys.” For example, “compulsory settlement” (betelepítés) doesn’t exist either in Hungarian or in EU law. The terms used in connection with refugee matters are “transfer” (áthelyezés) or “resettlement” (áttelepítés). So, just because of the inaccurate word usage, the Election Commission should throw the question out. But if by some miracle it gets through the Commission, the Constitutional Court will probably put an end to the story.

Yet even the constitutional hurdle could be overcome if Fidesz has the temerity to amend the constitution with the help of Jobbik, which seems to be a willing accomplice. Yesterday Jobbik submitted a proposal to change the wording of Article 8 from forbidding a referendum on “any obligation arising from an international agreement” to “any obligation arising from an international agreement, except matters that touch upon Hungary’s immigration policy or any other decisions that have an impact on it.” The question is whether Orbán and Co. will have the audacity to change the constitution again to force through a referendum serving Fidesz’s political agenda.

Foreign newspapers immediately picked up the story. The Guardian thinks that Viktor Orbán would win such a referendum “in a preemptive strike against the European commission and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, who are pushing for a permanent EU refugee quota system.” I, on the other hand, would not be so sure that this referendum will ever be held, unless Viktor Orbán is ready to amend the constitution and change the law on plebiscites. Even then, the wrong-headed legal argument that places parliament in a decision-making position vis-à-vis the European Union makes the success of this latest Orbán move questionable.

February 24, 2016
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Latefor
Guest

Orban has a great chance now to ask the public:
Do you think that Daniel Varro deserved the Attila Jozsef price in 2005?
Do you think that his poem, “Hat jo jatek kisbabaknak” should be allowed in school books?
May I take this opportunity to show my literary geniality and continue his masterpiece:

Jo jatek a connector,
es beledugtam a fejem,
hogy felvilagosodjon.

Jo jatek az internet,
csak elkaptak ezek az idiota szemetek.

Jo jatek a . . . . . . .

Guest

Latefor the only information I derive that for some reason you don’t like Daniel Varro – I might be wrong though -, but I don’t think you added anything relevant or valuable thought to Eva’s article. You can probably find a better forum to share your dislike or frustration for Varro’s literary price, if this is the case. Good luck, anyway. I guess by your comment that you can be pretty frustrated.

Latefor
Guest

Or, could it be that you feel threatened? 🙂

Latefor
Guest

@Gellert,
If there will be a referendum about ‘compulsory settlement of refugees,’ asking the public a few more pressing questions shouldn’t be a problem. OR, do you consider messing with the minds of the young and impressionable irrelevant? And one more thing: I don’t mind to be provoked but I do NOT like to be patronized!

Guest

Wolfi recently told Tryker where to go in no uncertain terms.
I suggest you do the same.

Tyrker
Guest

Oh! I missed that 😀

Guest

Varro probably knows this one. From the ‘Book of Nonsense’.. It’s ‘clean’…

‘There was an Old Man in a boat,
Who said, ‘I’m afloat, I’m afloat!’
When they said, ‘No! you ain’t!’
He was ready to faint,
That unhappy Old Man in a boat’

The kids could have fun with this one maybe one day down the road…;-)…

Latefor
Guest

@wrfree
. . . and that unhappy Old Man in a boat
decided to sink the f@#*ing boat.

(the adults could have fun with this one)

Guest

You are unbelievably pathetic with your juvenile posts – what’s the relevance of this crap?

On Sunday 24 January 2016 6:52 am on Eva’s post, you wrote:

“Whilst the Oh So Birghts are busy with “creative destruction” the “not so brights” -like myself- are studying the Bible. There is not much we can do. For now, that is.”

None of us could have put it better – in your illiterate style.

Dimwit indeed.

Latefor
Guest

@charliecharlieh
If you don’t stop this abusing tone, I will start to promote my books. You wouldn’t like that, would you?

Guest

@Latefor
Today 6:37 pm

I know your game Latefor. You are desperately trying to change the subject, because as a Hungarian patriot of a certain ilk, you viscerally hate the contents of HS, even to the point of making an incoherent nuisance of yourself on its forum from time to time.

Your grotesquery is however fast making you a prime candidate for getting permanently moderated out.

I am not sure however that that would make you any the happier or less frustrated, because your problem clearly resides in the grey matter between your ears, and not anything outside of it, such as the pages of HS.

Unfortunately, this problem of yours is not solvable, just manageable with appropriate psychological and/or psychiatric care. So the best I can do for you is wish you the very best of luck with that.

Latefor
Guest

Dearest “ambalint”,
As a “Hungarian patriot of certain ilk”let me give you a bit of an insight into the mind of a “bogatyas”: have you ever heard of a “bogatyas” going under psychiatric care? (I really had a good laugh reading this) Or seeing a therapist? NO, most definitely NOT! You (and many others on this blog) are addicted to the word: “frustrated”! I hardly ever comment, for crying out loud!
Please understand, if I would really want to start a blog, I could . . . but I’m far too lazy for that. Why does it pain you so much when I make a few comments time to time? Life is too short. . . put a smile on your face and stop with this diagnostic bullsh*t!

spectator
Guest

Varró for president!

Already possess all the skills required to lead the Glorious Nation of Hungary!
Furthermore, he can even spell!!!

Thank you Latefor for calling our attention!

“Oh, happy day…!”

JGrant
Guest

I may have got it wrong, but I think I have read an article recently that on his recent visit to Brussels Orban had already signed the document setting up the quotas. That article also hinted that new and very threatening voices in the EU higher echelons have proposed stringent financial consequences for non-complying members, which in turn made him sign. If this true, all opposition forces in Hungary should debunk this farce with this fact. Shouldn’t they?

Latefor
Guest

just testing

petofi
Guest

@ Latefor

Somebody shut off your hot water?

Latefor
Guest

Is that all you can come up with?

Guest

Japan has always been doing what Orban wants Hungary to do. Virtually no refugees are granted asylum in Japan and economic migrants are not allowed in. If this policy is not the reason for the stagnation of the Japanese economy it will preserve it. The Japanes government is beginning to realise it.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/01/japan-rejected-99-percent-refugees-2015-160124070011926.html

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/01/06/national/social-issues/government-weighs-immigration-maintain-population-boost-workforce/#.Vs63hZzhDIU

Guest

@Jean P
Today 3:36 am

How very true. A very astute observation.

Even more interesting is the fact that no one in the world ever complains to the Japanese about it, a situation analogous to never complaining about this to the Saudis, or for that matter, the Russians either.

Yes, Virginia, “all animals are equal, but some are more equal to others.”

On top of that, the Japanese barely tolerate to this day the Koreans in their midst, left overs from WW2.

But inevitable and unavoidable correctives are well on their way in the form of a dramatically shrinking population and an even more dramatic increase in the proportion of elderly people past working age in the population of Japan.

It should be fascinating to watch how the Japanese will cope with the economic consequences of their rejectionist perspective on immigration and above all, their unwillingness and inability to socially integrate foreigners who may not necessarily be lovers of Japanese culture, language or traditions.

Guest

Correction in para 3: should be “all animals are equal, but some are more equal THAN others.”

Guest

And the Magyar song continues… ‘Meet the new boss same as the old boss’….Magyarorszag: life as ticket ‘back to the future’. A one wrong way route.

Movement, political, economic, cultural and social, has always been a part of that human quality of injecting dynamism to the future rather than always living life in caves and in trees. Amazing how some argue to the contrary as they build kerites after kerites as if it could keep everything ‘barbaric’ out in the land of those who apparently believe in ‘last stands’.

Guest
–“Even more interesting is the fact that no one in the world ever complains to the Japanese about it, a situation analogous to never complaining about this to the Saudis, or for that matter, the Russians either.”– I thought about this a bit more during my evening constitutional, and it occurred to me that not only are Japan, Saudi Arabia and Russia are strangely reticent about giving a hand with Europe’s refugees and economic immigrant problem, but there are plenty of others too that do not seem to be in a hurry to help. After all we don’t seem to hear any voices offering help from the super rich Emirates, Sheikdoms and Sultanates of the world either, from Qatar to Brunei, or for that matter from reasonably well to do Moslem countries like Malaysia or Indonesia, or half Moslem ones like Thailand. Saudi Arabia had of course most generously offered to build a host of mosques to cater for the Sunni exodus from Syria and Afghanistan and for manning them up with Wahhabi preachers and madrassas. Most generous indeed. Then there are the countries of Latin America, all the way from Mexico down to Argentina, who are also silent, even… Read more »
Member

One sunny day I tried to explain to an Afro_ African that my country never had any colonies in Africa and basically I am not a racist. He said he was and… well, I was told where to go in no uncertain terms. I did understand that.
Same impression on Japan within Japan.

Róka koma
Guest
Many far eastern nations are actually very racist. They also regard themselves as races (the “Japanese race”, the “Korean race”). Only this is not politically correct to mention because racism is implicitly a white, Western problem. The negative feelings against migrants in Hungary are mostly based in racism though not exclusively. It is a natural phenomenon that people feel anxiety, feel the uncanny when familiar reality changes in small ways like Muslim women in burkas start to appear on the Dutch polders or black people at the Balaton resorts. These people are not supposed to be in the picture. This is not how you got to know these places. Obviously they have a right to be there in the abstract, but indigenous people don’t feel it natural and that gives rise to anxiety. Moreover, it is a kind of mourning one does when he/she grudgingly accepts that the world is changing and it will be different from how he/she got used to it. The emergence of these feelings is a fact and politicians must understand that. Politicians ignore these feelings at their peril and people who feel them should not be dismissed as racist bigots because many/most of them are… Read more »
Guest
@Róka koma Today 5:01 am Talking about racism, it is fascinating to follow the machinations of left wing social scientists and humanitarians on the one hand, and right wing nutters on the other hand, as they deliberately twist and distort, muddy, dilute and finally empty of all sensible content terms that once had very specific and very sharply delineated meanings. “Race” today has come to mean just about any group of humans, especially in the parlance of human rights fundamentalists. Four or five decades ago, however, it used to be quite a precise term, for broadly distinguishing between major human groups by physical appearance, such as Mongolian, Black African or Caucasian, or as a descriptor of people identifying themselves by genetic descent, such as the Jews, by matrilineal descent as the primary identifier. “Racism” and “racist” used to mean mindless prejudice against a genetically or physically distinct group of humans. Today it has become a politically correct left wing slur against anyone expressing any reservations whatsoever regarding any distinctly identifiable group of people, small or large. “Liberal” is today not at all what it was understood to be when the term was originally coined, instead, it denotes a species of… Read more »
Guest

Corrections:

PARA 5 – typo
” . . . a 16 or 17 years old vicious hoodlum is referred to AS a child, and that makes . . .”

PARA 6 – typo
” . . . of some underprivileged group of people, OR indeed, of animals; . . .”

PARA 7 – complete rewrite of sentence 1
“Holocaust” can today describe any and all disastrous events, even those that are only mildly disastrous, relatively speaking, and it does not even need to be in a any sense really and truly catastrophic. As usual however, the case of the Jews remains different; to them this term only applies after they got it in the neck for real, and even then only grudgingly.

Apologies for the careless formulations in the post.

Observer
Guest

Referendums and fascism.

VIDEOS of how the unorthodox Hungarian “democracy” is enforced.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4izJJDMbZY

Guest

One thing that can be said for the Internet and that it can be a factual recorder of present time. Some events are good to have so posterity can see the inception and etiologies of crippling ‘viruses’ that later go out of control. This could be Internet as ‘classroom’.

spectator
Guest

Here is the summary in English:
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAtow6vZ03g&w=1280&h=720%5D

Andreas Holinfecker
Guest

Fascism? We can only hope. These Good Samaritans are merely protecting the little old lady from being beaten by that nasty thug of a politician. Notice how he does not even look Hungarian. Is he a “refugee”? What is Europe coming to?

Guest

–“The question is whether Orbán and Co. will have the audacity to change the constitution again to force through a referendum serving Fidesz’s political agenda.”–

I would think they will most certainly have the audacity and whatever else it will take to get their way, including whatever legislative amendments might have to be rammed through in parliament in support of their position.

Nevertheless, nevertheless . . . .

It should be most fascinating from now on to watch them hoist on their own petard and get entangled ever deeper, ever tighter and ever more inextricably in ropes of their own making.

Seems to me that this time Orbán is really and truly beginning to loose the plot.

Observer
Guest

Yes, he’s jumbling it.

Too busy with the looting.
Too many enemy giants/wind mills to fight.
Too many good for nothing hangers-on stirring their own muck.

Guest

@Observer
Today 4:26 am

Spot on. I like your sense of humour too!

bimbi
Guest

@ ambalint

Just a small technical comment. I note several people have been frustrated with the absence of an “Edit” function, or one that works. May I suggest that you write out your comment in Word, read it and edit for yourself and then copy-and-paste it into the comment box? This way you can edit out typos y’self – and even take time to look up in your favourite dictionary the difference between “lose” and “loose”…

Guest
@bimbi Today 10:38 am I take it that this is me you are talking about, since I don’t see too many others putting in corrections after their posts. :-)) The problem lies in myself. When I first quickly read over what I write, I often miss my typos and poor formulations before I push the “post comment” button. I seem to have this peculiar aversion to rereading and carefully correcting what I have already written down once, and I am too undisciplined to force myself to change my bad ways. Then, when I think about the post some more and reread it again, I suddenly discover errors that I didn’t see before. And this can happen even the third time around, when I happen to think about the post some more and reread it again some time later. Now, the question is what is more of a nuisance, putting in correction after correction in WordPress, which might annoy some of the other commenters, or write the post first in Word, as you suggest, then keep correcting and modifying it in the hours and even days that might follow, and only after I am absolutely certain that I have nothing further… Read more »
Observer
Guest

One more element.

Fidesz VP Gergely Gulyás, a holder of law degree, came up yesterday with an astounding mixture of nonsense and lies on Klub radio and ATV.

– Legal nonsense is his assertion that the constitutional ban on holding a referendum on issues treated by international agreements or law is not applicable to the questions of refugee protection and settlement, because the respective international provisions have been incorporated into Hungarian law, hence it had become domestic law, which in turn can be subject to referendum.

For those who were not fans of the Yes Minister brit series: if you sign, i.e. accept to comply with an international agreement/law, and incorporate it in your own legal system, then you don’t have to comply with it anymore. Typical Fidesz Logic for Dummies.

– The lies part is that the GG character knows the truth pretty well.

Istvan
Guest
I would say that Fidesz does a reasonably good job with what can only be called political time management. Once a story leaves the direct attention of the public they work away at it. I suspect they will do the same with the refugee quota issue in one way or another. Also I am confused as to why Eva and others believe the courts which most commenters on this blog believe are stacked in favor of Fidesz will rule against the referendum based on the language of the Constitution? But more immediately Fidesz has made great inroads on the teachers strike committee’s 25 demands that Eva devoted a number of posts to. There was a meeting this week of the so called round table and as far as I can tell both teachers unions attended. There are now a number of working groups including Content Development, Child-Student Careers, Teacher Professional Strategy, Teacher Vocation, Maintainer Management and Public Education Management. There is also this story today on a massive reduction of the scope of power of klik http://nol.hu/belfold/egy-klik-bol-tobb-klik-1603297 Again I have to say the opposition in Hungary underestimates the ability of Fidesz to make compromises more or less out of the… Read more »
Member
Guest
@Stevan Harnad Today 9:31 am Human rights officials don’t cut it without the backing of powerful governments, or with the offenders having been weakened and worn down to the point where they are unable to resist retribution. But there are much larger issues involved here. Just look at all the human rights offenders around the world taking absolutely no notice whatsoever of human rights assessments against them which have less effect on them than balls of jelly thrown at concrete walls. Then what about all the other egregious human rights offenders that don’t even get assessments of their horrendous offenses against their own peoples? But of course that is because 99.9% of grievous human rights offenses in the world are supposedly committed by the Jews of Israel, at least according to the “humanitarian” community of this strange world of ours. But the world humanitarian community is after all a most honorable group, isn’t it?. Because all we have to do is to just look at the membership of the UN human rights council, to realize without a smidgen of doubt that 99% of these are clearly valiant paragons of human rights within their own countries, aren’t they? As are of… Read more »
Guest

Stevan – Forst’s report won’t be presented to the UN until April 2017!!!

Member

Eva@ I am writing not because I disagree, but for the reason that I believe that the European ramifications of this initiative might be far more important and serious that the consequences within the country. At least for the beginning. The first reports in the “western” media immediately smelled this danger so I won’t repeat these arguments. Even those early quotes that Eva has linked to his report warn against Brexit/ UKIP and other far right and far left groups that the initiative may have an appeal to them (see the Greek PM’s immediate reaction). Again, that is the brewing effect that is so poisonous and “putinous” (if I may say so).

If you read the Hungarian press, I think the dust by today is starting to settle. Even former FM Laszlo Kovacs made a statement in Nepszabadsag admitting that the great leader is insincere. In the meantime, I just keep wondering what took him and the entire opposition to make this fundamental discovery nearly half a year starting from the first EU quota decision. Are they hypocrites? (Please do not answer this last.)

bimbi
Guest

Well, here’s a coincidence. I wonder who thought of it first. .. Headline from this evening’s Guardian:

Russia: Putin’s alleged son-in-law in top 10 list of state contract winners

We don’t have any shilly-shallying around here. We know who the “alleged son-in-law” is here, and he is not just in the “top 10” – Oh no! He is No. 1

Guest

Which ‘evening’ Guardian is this?

The national English Guardian is a (morning) daily and Internet.

There are many provincial ‘Guardians’ not worth the candle.

But maybe it’s not published in the UK?

Guest

Re: ‘the adults could have fun with this one’

Speaking of adults, it would appear some of the latter in Magyarorszag would give the image of not being very good role models for their progeny in example and on the the transference of important and viable ‘values’ that developing generations need in order to continue a good and vibrant nation. Time will tell how much those ‘unformed and undeveloped’ adults of today will process and act out what they have learned as children. For as we know ‘the child is the father to the man’.

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