Fidesz to negotiate with Jobbik on modifying constitution

October 6, 2016


Extreme right-wing nationalist party Jobbik will sit at the negotiating table with ruling party Fidesz concerning proposed changes to Hungary’s constitution following last Sunday’s referendum, reports

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has hailed the quota referendum as an “overwhelming victory” for the Hungarian people, one which manifested a “new unity” unparalleled in the country since its transition from socialism in 1990. The will of the people was reflected in the 98 percent of participating voters who said “no” to EU migrant resettlement quotas, the prime minister claimed, and the government has a responsibility to respond with legislation.

The referendum is legally invalid due to lack of participation, with only 40 percent of eligible voters casting valid ballots, well under the necessary 50 percent threshold. Still, the government and government-tied media have pummeled the public with declarations of the great victory and consequent people’s mandate to change the country’s Fundamental Law.

Fidesz no longer holds a two-thirds majority in Parliament, something it needs to push through constitutional changes. Most opposition parties are either so against Fidesz or against the spirit of the referendum that they cannot be counted on to vote with the ruling party on changing the constitution.

Luckily for Fidesz, it has an ideological ally in Jobbik, which itself had proposed similar constitutional changes last Spring for legislating against settlement of asylum seekers or refugees in the country without the individual, explicit approval of the National Assembly.

Jobbik chairman Gábor Vona, who strongly called for Orbán’s resignation the day after the referendum on October 2, has invited the prime minister to a face-to-face meeting to discuss details of working together to modify the constitution.

In an unprecedented turn, Orbán responded to Jobbik’s criticisms by accusing the far-right, eurosceptic party of being bought by the EU and of “cheering for Brussels,” which according to him is an “unpatriotic and incorrect step.” He said Jobbik had sold out and he dismissed them as European pawns.