The Hungarian government claims that 1.68 million people took part in the latest so-called National Consultation, and has initiated a taxpayer-funded “Thank You” campaign to show its appreciation.
In a style by now familiar, the government has begun erecting blue and yellow signs and billboards around the country thanking Hungarian citizens for participating in the “Most successful National Consultation of all time.” The signs also bear the text, “Hungary is a strong and proud European Country.”
The subtext of this newest message is ironic, given that the consultation bore the europhobic title, “Let’s Stop Brussels,” and was accompanied by a months-long propaganda campaign stirring up resentment of the European Union through the misleading and deliberately manipulative questions of the “consultation.”
A Fidesz representative earlier called the consultation results proof that a majority of Hungarians support the government, and reject the misguided immigration policies of the EU.
Pro-government daily Magyar Idők also reported, failing to cite sources, that over 90 percent of respondents, “an overwhelming majority,” support the “bill on transparency of foreign-funded organizations.”
Howver, no official information has been publicized, nor is it likely to be, which would verifiably corroborate the data on the consultation alleged by the government or its media.
Magyar Idők, in its report on the forthcoming gratitude campaign, hinted at a “results” campaign to come later.
The rate of participation in the consultation, as well as data related to responses, is inherently unreliable: as we reported earlier, the online version of the consultation questionnaire was wide-open to abuse and fraud, and did not have even the most basic security measures to ensure that respondents were Hungarian citizens, or that people could fill out only a single questionnaire. Additionally, the content of the questionnaire was uniformly rejected by polling experts, social scientists and political scientists, as well as the European Commission, which issued a point-by-point rebuttal of the consultation questions.