Twenty-two Hungarian NGOs have launched a joint campaign to persuade Hungarians to either boycott the October 2 referendum or cast an invalid ballot, reports daily online Index.hu.
They are doing so in the belief that the referendum does not contribute to the future of either Hungary or the European Union. In a joint statement, the 22 NGOs emphasize that the referendum is pointless:
No decision has been reached by the EU, and there is not discussion either, of prescribing an obligatory “settlement” quota. Moreover, there is no concrete legal consequence for the answer given to the referendum question.
The organizations believe the purpose of the referendum and accompanying campaign is to incite hatred of the refugees arriving to Europe. They believe the real question is whether Hungary is capable of becoming a humane community.
“There are those among us who will cast an invalid vote, and others will boycott the anti-refugee referendum,” writes Hungary’s Civil Liberties Union (TASZ).
The joint statement was signed by Artemisszió Alapítvány (Atemisszio Foundation), Eleven Emlékmű (Living Memorial), Eötvös Károly Közpolitikai Intézet (Eötvös Károly Institute for Public Policy), Független Előadó-művészeti Szövetség (The Alliance of Independent Peforming Artists), Gyerekesély Közhasznú Egyesület (Association to Give Children a Chance), Hálózat a Tanszabadságért (Network for Academic Freedom), Hívatlanul Hálózat (Network of the Uninvited), Humán Platform Egyesület (Human Platform Association), Krétakör Alapítvány (Krétakör Foundation), Közélet Iskolája (School of Public Life), Magyar Helsinki Bizottság (Hungarian Helsinki Committee), Magyar Női Érdekérvényesítő Szövetség (Alliance of Advocates of the Interests of Hungarian Women), Magyarországi Európa Társaság (Hungary Europe Company), Magyarországi Evangéliumi Testvérközösség (Evangelical Brotherhood of Hungary), Migration Aid, MigSzol, Oktatói Hálózat (Network of Teachers), Oltalom Karitatív Egyesület (Defense Charitable Association), Opera Közhasznú Kulturális Egyesület (Opera Public Cultural Association), Segítsünk együtt! (Let’s help together!), Szépírók Társasága (Company of Penmen) and Társaság a Szabadságjogokért (Hungarian Civil Liberties Union).
According to a recent survey conducted by Závecz research 41 percent of respondents said they plan to vote in the referendum and have already decided which way. 53 percent said they would participate in the referendum but still do not know how they will respond to the question: “Do you want for the European Union to be able to prescribe the obligatory settlement of non-Hungarian citizens in Hungary without the approval of the National Assembly?”
In order for the referendum to be valid, 50 percent of the voting public must participate plus one voter.
Having staked its political reputation and that of the governing Fidesz-KDNP political alliance on the outcome of the referendum, the government of Viktor Orbán has blanketed the country in billboards telling Hungarians “Let’s send a message to Brussels even they can understand” and “We must not risk Hungary’s future, vote no!”.