October 3 may not be a day of rejoicing for the Hungarian government

Viktor Orbán has put a tremendous amount of energy into having a valid and successful referendum, although it is not clear what he wants to do with it, at least at home. He is certainly keeping his plans secret–if, that is, he has plans. One cannot exclude the possibility that he doesn’t know what his next step will be.

As for his plans for the European Union, the official explanation is that a successful referendum will strengthen his hand in his tough fight with the EU. His latest brainstorm, however–having a giant refugee camp in Libya–was not exactly greeted with enthusiasm at his meeting in Vienna with Angela Merkel, Donald Tusk, Christian Kern, and the prime ministers of the Balkan countries. Moreover, this time the usually silent European Commission also raised objections. Natasha Bertaud, the spokesperson of Jean-Claude Juncker, explained yesterday that the registration of asylum seekers can take place only within the borders of the European Union. Orbán should study the admittedly complicated rules and regulations of the EU a bit more thoroughly before he comes out with his bizarre ideas.

I guess I don’t have to go into the details of Libya’s reaction to Orbán’s proposal. The Libyan Unity Government found Orbán’s idea of a refugee camp for one million people along Libya’s seashore under EU supervision unacceptable since such an arrangement would constitute an infringement of the country’s territorial integrity. So, it is highly unlikely that Orbán will pursue this idea any further.

Otherwise, since the question of compulsory quotas is pretty much off the table, I don’t think that a successful referendum makes any difference in his negotiations in Brussels. Perhaps he just wants to show that he has the whole country behind him. In his interview with Origo he claimed that he would be truly happy only if all eligible voters went to the polls because, after all, this is a national issue that has nothing to do with party politics, which is, of course, a joke.

The effort that is being put into achieving the desired result is phenomenal. The government is pressuring localities to deliver the votes because otherwise they will be the ones stranded with the dreaded migrants. These are mostly communities where the mayor and the town council refused to send out propaganda material to each household. According to 444.hu 11 Hungarian communities with a combined population of 3.68 million have been directly threatened by the government. That is about a third of the population of the country. At least one mayor of a small town near Győr made it clear to his constituents that, with a high turnout, his “managing the applications for EU subsidies currently under consideration” will be much easier. In plain English, if they don’t vote EU subsidies will go somewhere else. So, the generous support of the European Union is being used by the Orbán government to blackmail the population to vote in a referendum that is designed as a club against the EU itself.

Even so, there have been signs in the last few days that, despite all the propaganda and threats, enthusiasm for the referendum is waning. This is especially surprising because, as a result of all this effort, today Hungarians believe that the “migrant question” is one of the most important problems the country currently faces. Deficiencies in healthcare still leads the list, but second place is shared by the migrant issue and corruption (35%). It’s more important than the state of the economy (30%). In the last three months, while they were preoccupied with the “migrant question,” Hungarians marginalized the problems of education (11%).

One of the earliest hints of the government’s concern about achieving a valid referendum (a turnout of 50% of the electorate plus 1) was something Undersecretary János Halász in the prime minister’s office said a few days ago. Halász claimed that those who are urging a boycott and plan not to vote in fact would like to say “no” but “don’t dare admit it.” There is another interesting bit of news about ballots arriving from Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, and a few from western countries. There are 274,000 eligible voters in this group, and so far 73,000 ballots have arrived. But, of the 15,601 ballots that have already been counted, only 12,835 or 82% were valid. Almost every fifth ballot will be added to the invalid pile. Of course, we have no idea whether these ballots were spoiled on purpose or not, but in the final analysis it doesn’t matter. They will end up in the pile of protest votes.

Finally, in its latest poll Medián suggests that the referendum might not be valid because only 42% of the sampled population are sure they will vote. Almost a fourth disapprove of holding the referendum. Of this group 36% will remain at home, 18% will spoil the ballot, and 18% will vote yes. In addition to Medián, Publicus Research and Závecz Research will release polls between now and October 2.

An invalid ballot

An invalid ballot

Some of the opposition parties, most vocally Jobbik and the Demokratikus Koalíció, are demanding Viktor Orbán’s resignation in the event of an invalid referendum. Of course, he would not resign, but a failure would definitely be a political setback for Viktor Orbán. The more people stay home, the more people vote “yes” or spoil their ballots, the more embarrassing the whole affair will be. Orbán is in a high stakes game with, as far as we can see, a very small pot. Lots of risk, very little reward. If the referendum is invalid, Orbán’s reputation as a miracle worker will vanish. It will become clear that, after all, he is not unbeatable.

September 28, 2016
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Member

In terms of the high proportion of invalid ballots among Hungarians living abroad and voting by mail: I would suggest that the voting package sent out by the government is too complicated, too convoluted and takes too much effort. When I got my package, the envelope included the actual ballot, a declaration form to complete, two pages of instructions, a small white envelope and a large, self-addressed and stamped envelope. I gather that the ballot must go into the small white envelope, but the completed declaration form must NOT go into that small envelope. All of the items must then be included in the large SASE.

I am certain that many voters are messing this up–perhaps not sealing the small white envelope with their ballot, or adding the declaration form into that envelope, which means that their vote is not longer secret and anonymous, as it contains their name…thus spoiling their vote.

My ballot is still sitting on my dining room table, and will remain there. I have decided to simply boycott the vote.

Guest

London Calling!

I believe Orban will get his 50% + 1.

The polls can’t even imagine the Hungarian psyche let alone ask – they will only know in hindsight.

And Orban’s foot soldiers know what to do if the turnout looks deficient. That stash of reserve ballot papers is already filled out for stuffing into ballot boxes, where polling stations lack opposition observers because they are too stretched.

And the dirty tricks propaganda has intensified with the threats of ‘camps on your doorstep’ if you don’t vote – now supplemented with ‘no EU funding for your pet projects’ if you turnout is low.

Faithful rural Hungary will bring home the bacon for their hero Orban.

And Orban will move into his castle having saved the populace from marauding, raping immigrants.

And Hungary lives happily ever after.

Guest

Re: ‘Faithful rural Hungary will bring home the bacon for their hero Orban’

Unfortunately that tasty szallona is a killer gumming up the works in the relationship between governors and those governed. Historians in the future will no doubt consider this period a watershed in the Magyar turn away from a ‘free’ society in all its facets and on to that illiberalism couched in autocracy. Now we see more and more the gravitational pull of the ‘East’. How Magyars can stomach that state of affairs is astounding. They must be ignoring the indigestion or Putin must be their Pepto-Bismol.

tappanch
Guest

Re: “But, of the 15,601 [mailed-in] ballots that have already been counted, only 12,835 or 82% were valid.”

This is the same pattern as in April 2014, when the final tally was as follows:

Received ballots: 158,654
Valid ballots: 128,712 (35% from e-Landia)
ratio: 81.13%

North-Korean results for Fidesz:
95.5% of the ballots that were declared valid went to Fidesz.

Stephen Saletros
Guest
The time is coming for the Hungarian people to stand together and let there voices be heard loud and clear in Hungary, Europe, and in the entire world that Hungary will not allow itself to become the victim of an insidious invasion. PM Viktor Orban has demonstrated courageous leadership in speaking out and taking decisive action to defend Hungary and Europe against an islamist invasion. So- called “refugees” from the the Middle East/North Africa should be settled in the Middle East or North African countries which are culturally congruent. The “refugee” invasion is a form of Civilization and Settlement Jihad and must be recognized as such. If you are not familiar with the concepts I strongly suggest you become familiar with them. Islamists make no secret of there intentions to use the cover of a “refugee” movement to infiltrate Europe and ultimately to create a caliphate that includes Europe. It is time for Hungarians to Stand Up for Hungary and reject the globalist tyrannical orthodoxy of the Left that would sacrifice Hungary on the altar of “political correctness” Magyarism and not multi -culturalism is the Right path for the future of Hungary! God Bless and Save Hungary!
tappanch
Guest

“The time is coming for the Hungarian people to stand together and let there voices be heard loud and clear ” that they have had enough of Orban’s dictatorship.

LwiiH
Guest

I feel overwhelmed by all of the immigrants in Hungary. We need to get rid of them and make sure no more of them settle here. It’s a dreadful situation. I see them, well I don’t really see them, I’ve been told that they are every where and they are out to get us. But I’ve not really seen them anywhere. But they are there and there and they are out to get us so we need to beware. Wait I’m one of them, now what should I do?

Guest

You have to ‘Protect and Survive’!

Probably best to seek cover in your pre-prepared bunker!

Here’s the advice of a public information film made in the 1970’s for British consumption.

An earlier film told you how to unhinge a door and heap earth on top – under the stairs as a protective bunker!

Then follow this advice.

(It’s nuclear – but should protect you from those marauding, raping immigrants.)

Protect and Survive:

https://youtu.be/6677Eppc-sk

Guest

And this was the sequel!

Let us know how you get on?

https://youtu.be/3IaeeSKpwSQ

e-1956
Guest

Your emperor is naked. Only duped citizens and well paid fidesz people can not see it.

Member

I’m for a califat! !!

Member

Like Charlie, I find it difficult to believe that Orbán wouldn’t get what he wants. Of course, there are signs of panic in the air: 444.hu was informed that employees of a ministry (not named, to protect the anonymous source) were given telephones, lists of phone numbers and detailed instructions for a telephone campaign: they were to call the inhabitants of diverse districts and convince them to vote NO in the referendum. Civil servants, in their working time! The government of course denied this, but now, 444.hu has been informed of similar efforts being taken on municipal level as well: employees of local administrations or even “közmunkások” are already spending their workdays calling potential voters, according to a list and a nicely worked-out system (http://444.hu/2016/09/28/onkormanyzati-hivatalnokoknak-es-kozmunkasoknak-is-telefonalgatniuk-kell-fideszes-utmutato-alapjan-a-nepszavazas-sikereert ). The government has already invested so much in this referendum campaign that everything will be done to ensure the expected outcome.

pappp
Guest

What was in your linked 444.hu article is now common practice in state and municipality offices, it was by no means an isolated incident.

Of course it is also a felony (hivatali visszaélés, abuse of administrative power, Section 305 of the Criminal Code).

Máté Kocsis of Fidesz (mayor of district 8 of Budapest) however say it’s totally OK.

http://444.hu/2016/09/28/kocsis-mate-szerint-teljesen-oke-hogy-munkaidoben-partkampanyba-kenyszeritenek-kozhivatalnokokat-sot

Bowen
Guest

Last Sunday, I saw ‘information’ stands (about voting NEM) outside several churches in Budapest. I’m sure there will be similar reminders next Sunday. Information has been posted up inside apartment buildings now, urging people to vote and saying where.

pappp
Guest

It’s interesting that Péter Tölgyessy thinks that the referendum will be probably valid.

From his use of words he thinks the proportion of valid votes could be around 50% but above it.

I wonder if he saw internal Fidesz polls. He was a Fidesz MP for 8 years so although he is supposed to be “independent” now his connections to top Fidesz political scientists must still be alive.

If however Median is right about 42%, maybe somewhat more who say they will surely vote on Sunday and from that only 80-90% will be valid (though of which probably 95% will be NO), it could mean a giant blow to Fidesz’ polling prowess.

If Median is correct and the already counted votes from ethnic Hungarians are in any way representative it might even be that the validity rate will be below even 40% which would mean a 10% point miss for Tölgyessy compared to his and I assume Fidesz’ optimistic forecasts. Missing 10 points out of 50 would have a lot of implications.

Mihal
Guest

Eva, why would you be so sure that there is possibility that Orban loses this battle? I believe it doesn’t matter what the outcome is, it’s already sure that Orban will be the winner. Only the reaction has to be adjusted a bit. I remember vividly the “National Consultation” of last year, which was an enormous loss for Orban. Only 12,5% bothered to return the form. This didn’t matter to Orban, he simply didn’t give any attention to the outcome and launched his “The people decided Hungary has to be defended” campaign. Now who remembers this fiasco from last year?

Member

That’s a good point, in fact. It doesn’t really matter if this referendum is legally valid (that is, whether 50% of the voters will bother to vote), because it won’t have any practical or legal significance anyway: the Hungarian Parliament cannot override the European Parliament’s decisions on EU policies. So, no matter how few people participate, if the majority of the valid votes is NO, Orbán can start celebrating the outcome of the referendum and the “will of the majority”.

Mihal
Guest

That’s exactly my idea. Since the referendum is absolutely meaningless it doesn’t matter if it’s valid or not. Invalid, but a Noth-Korean >90% support for Orbán will be widely broadcasted as a victory for a government in Europe as never seen before.

Guest

a victory for a government ???

I don’t think so – real democracy means opposing ideas and opinions!

I believe that this might make people believe (as I’ve ben saying often) that Hungary is very similar to North Korea or Russia with its government monopoly on information.

Already most Europeans are laughing about those silly/stupid/backwards Hungarians just as we are laughing about the “Little Englanders” …

The difference being that the UK is (still) a power – while Hungary is one of a dozen unimportant small Balkan countries, even if Fidesz believes otherwise.

My favourite example:
When we buy something at the Lidl or Aldi the usage instructions are typically in 20 or even more languages – so it would be horrible (or not …) if Hungarian were missing there!

Mihal
Guest

To avoid misunderstandings: I hope this will be the beginning of the end for VO. However, like it or not, in the EU Hungary is still treated as a normal country with a working democracy to which West-European politicians find it necessary to send their taxpayers money to. If a country dares to say something really threatening (like Luxembourg did) the other politicians don’t know how fast they need to response that they don’t agree with that negative statement.

pappp
Guest
Mihal, this is simpler than that. The government wanted the referendum to be valid, the opposition did not. So if the referendum is not valid than it’s hard not to judge that as a – minor – victory for the opposition. But most importantly, regardless of the actual numbers, Orban would look weak and vulnerable with an invalid referendum because he himself made the validity of paramount importance. Never in the history of Hungarian democracy has anybody ever spent so much money on any political campaign. The government (actually the Hungarian taxpayers) is spending much more (perhaps three times as much) on this current referendum that all parties combined (!) in the general election of 2014. This is unprecedented. Also unprecedented is the unabashed political pressure (or rather blackmail) on state employees (to canvass voters for Fidesz, based on Fidesz’ campaign material, during official hours) and on small rural communities to deliver votes lest their state subsidies on which they are dependent dry up. If despite these titanic efforts Orban is unable to bring about a valid referendum he would look like a weakened politician who lost his magic touch. This meta level of message which people are smart to… Read more »
Mihal
Guest

I hope you are right, but it was thinking many times the last years Orban and co wouldn’t get away with it (Questor, National Bank, Rogan, etc. ) and completely nothing happened. I am sincerely hoping that this time he went too far and he has been digging his own grave.

pappp
Guest

The consequences will be indirect and gradual it’s not like Orban will disappear overnight. Not at all. But it will be an important evidence of his relative weakness at a time when – at least according to his carefully-managed image – he seems invincible. Orban knows that not only voters but also his underlings will sense his weakness and thus will become less reliable. This will make him even more paranoid.

Guest

I’m not so sure whether enough people will stay at home (like my wife) …

Yesterday we had one of our neighbours over for a beer (and a pálinka for him of course …) and he wanted to know whether she would go and what would be her vote (he knows that I’m not allowed to vote on these things, just in local elections).

We tried to talk him out of it, asked him if he really was afraid of those dreadful migrants, which he hasn’t seen of course …

We also reminded him of how many Hungarians fled the country in the last Century -for different reasons, but …

He’s a nice chap but a typical Hungarian country bumpkin: Of course somehow afraid of Jews (likes to make antisemitic jokes), hates the gypsies and generally doesn’t know too much about what’s going on in the world – a typical Fidesz voter in other words …

Just like under Horthy and Kádár …

Poor Hungary!

PS:

When we asked him about the money that was spent on that hateful propaganda campaign he became unsure and didn’t know what to say – he knows how dreadful the situation is in schools and hospitals …

Guest

Re: ‘He’s a nice chap but a typical Hungarian country bumpkin: Of course somehow afraid of Jews (likes to make antisemitic jokes), hates the gypsies and generally doesn’t know too much about what’s going on in the world – a typical Fidesz voter in other words’

And there I’d suggest we can see how isolation and introversion contributes to a restrictive view of the ‘world’ to those rural folk. But it’s there where we can see how government doesn’t help tbe situation at all. They have all the power to give them opportunities to engage and expand their horizons. And that expansion that not only can help themselves but the entire country as well. But I’m afraid the look onto horizons is only to the nose. And having a government which only exists for itself in its medieval dotage where castles , moats and portcullises only matter. A devastating indictment of the country’s insistence in living a dead past.

tappanch
Guest

Zavecz poll about the October 2 referendum:

Will go and vote no [as Fidesz wants]: 43.7%
Will go and vote but does not know yes or no: 6.1%
Will go and vote yes: 2.0%

Total 51.8% > 50%, as Orban desired

Will go and vote “invalid”: 1.6%
May no go to vote: 19.2%
Will not vote: 24.2%
No answer: 3.1%

http://index.hu/belfold/2016/09/29/nepszavazas_kozvelemeny_kutatas_bojkott/

tappanch
Guest

Those who advocate the we should go and vote “yes” (against Orban) actually serve Orban’s interests. (I saw several big billboards by the almost non-existent Fodor “Liberal” party)

pappp
Guest

Yes, but Zavecz hedged his numbers saying that turnout numbers are notoriously difficult to predict and may be off by as many as 10 points.

For example it’s hard to believe that all the 6.1% who say in this poll that they will surely go but are still unsure how to vote (how can you be unsure after such a divisive campaign?) will all cast a valid vote.

I’m not sure whether Fodor succeeded to persuaded anybody. There are genuine people unattached to Fodor who want to cast yes votes. Not too many, but they do exist. Too bad that they just can’t shut up and be quiet for once. But they have nothing to do with Fodor who is irrelevant. If these numbers are indicative than maybe 95-97% of the votes will be a No and there is no campaign by such a diverse opposition which could control every last 3-5%.

tappanch
Guest

Former Marx square, this afternoon. Two high school students were distributing “vote yes” flyers on behalf of Fodor’s party. I told them that they actually supported Orban by doing this. They answered they did not care , they were paid to do this.

On Margit island, Palatinus spa and other things are being destroyed and/or reconstructed. The western side of the island is full of trucks, dust, bus #26 cannot go through the island. The pretext is the swimming championship next year.

Guest

London Calling!

Completely O/T

There are some big shifts occurring in German banks

Deutsche Bank AG’s share price has plummeted to a low which barely covers their upcoming fines – mainly in the US (which coincidentally match the Apple tax ‘adjustments’ in Ireland!). From recently being the biggest bank in the world.

And they have denied seeking government assistance – which usually means they have.

They are a speculators dream company with everyone short-selling at the moment.

Then Commerzbank is cutting 10,000 jobs (from only 45,000) and stopping dividends.

With interest rates so low no banks in Europe are making money – with ramifications for economies everywhere.

If Germany catches a cold everybody sneezes. France has been unable to lift its economy and unemployment amongst the young.

Generous grants and subsidies to CEE countries might be the first to dry up – much quicker than planned – as each country massages its election machinery to life.

You don’t want a banking crisis and elections to clog up Brexit negotiations.

Watch out Orban – you better get that V4 exit strategy sorted – you might need it soon.

Guest

Totally forgot:

Today we found two pieces of paper in our letter box, one was the usual love letter from O himself (signed!) – my wife was angry because the paper was so thick, like cardboard, and threw it straight into the bin.

The other was a cry for help – the (Austrian owned) chain SPAR/Interspar urgently needs workers, cashiers, people to fill up shelves etc.
On the back was an application which you can send to them directly …

Guest

wolfi….. Hmmm… Do you have to throw the ‘love letter’ away? …;-)….Keep it for posterity. It’s an example of perhaps the oxymoronic side of democracy’s nuts and bolts in its construction over there. I keep my yellowing and aged copy of Pravda that I bought from a stand near where you get a villamos in those Big K days. It gives ‘perspective’ from getting ‘there to here’.

Guest

There were so many (I didn’t see all of them probably, because my wife got so angry every time …) and the whole very expensive propaganda campaign should be properly analysed by an expert anyway!

pappp
Guest

The history of Hungarian democracy since 1989.

comment image

Guest

Surely you meant ‘down the pan?”

(Not under the vanitory unit!)

Guest

Very good! Got to give credit to that little macska for trying!!..;-)…

Bowen
Guest

Posters being taped up on every house door in the 8th district reminding people to vote on Sunday.

Guest

The police will be arresting fostered workers and the elderly to take them to the polling station – whilst waiting outside to take them back (possibly!).

tappanch
Guest

Hungarian village:

you go to vote —-> you get a bag of food worth 3000 forints.
you prove that you voted “no” —–> you get potatoes for free.

http://444.hu/2016/09/29/konya-peter-feljelentest-tett-elelmiszercsomagokat-osztogatnak-nem-szavazatert-cserebe

PALIKA
Guest
Fascinating exchanges, thank you. The result is obvious. OV wins. He is not a cretin like Cameron, he does not call a referendum without making sure he gets his way. As to what follows is also pretty boring. More of the same. Hungary’s place in EU is secure thanks to the infantile antics of the Brexit English. We are not going to witness the disintegration of our dream of the Union of Civilised Europe on the back of English Xenophobia. In the 60s and 70s together with the rest of the world Hungarians regarded Britain as a laughing stock. There was a revival till June 2016. The straight bananas anti EU brainwashing has done the trick. The result will be almost certain economic and political disaster for the English and unfortunately for many others. I wonder if in 15 years from now we will not see a strong and proud Hungary, however illiberal, and an equally illiberal reactionary UK out on a limb? Kadar carved out a special place for Hungary. Will OV do the same? What will it be like? But please do not get too excited on Sunday. The result is a foregone conclusion and this time the… Read more »
trackback

[…] It seems that the referendum results might have some unexpected consequences (read about this here). […]