Hungarian news site nol.hu reports that ruling party Fidesz plans to mobilise its entire campaign arsenal on August 20, a national holiday, to drum up as much support as possible for its October 2 anti-EU refugee quota referendum.
The campaign will extend well beyond the ongoing advertisements on the traditional media platforms (broadcast, print, internet, and social media). According to nol.hu, the campaign will also include phone calls and person-to-person interaction.
Hungarian election law stipulates that the campaign may only officially begin this coming weekend and last 50 days. Claims by Fidesz that it plans to wait for the Olympic Games in Brazil to end before launching its official campaign are disingenuous. For weeks the country has been awash in blue billboards equating immigration with terrorism, and Hungarian state media coverage of the Rio Olympics has featured pro-government, anti-immigration propaganda in the form of short news segments and so-called “public service announcements”.
Despite election laws forbidding campaigning outside the legally allotted time window, the Hungarian government has been blanketing the country in propaganda for months.
Blue billboards reminding voters of the upcoming referendum (and the government’s position) have been visible around the country for months, along with the broadcast, print, internet, and social media advertisements.
According to nol.hu, Fidesz will mobilize its entire campaign apparatus on Saint Stephen day on August 20, and will use absolutely every tool at its disposal to increase voter turnout for the referendum. Party members will visit the residences of voters to try and convince them of the government’s position.
Voter turnout must be at least 50 percent if the referendum is to be considered legally valid.
Fidesz’s plan is no surprise. In late 2015 the party embarked on a controversial signature gathering spree that will likely serve as the catalyst for the party’s nationwide grassroots mobilization.