Jobbik proposes to constitutionally ban sale of residency bonds

November 16, 2016

Gábor Vona. MTI Fotó: Marjai János
Jobbik chairman Gábor Vona

Hungary’s largest opposition party, Jobbik, will propose an amendment to the constitution, the Fundamental Law, identical in every way to the amendment that failed to pass last week but which would constitutionally forbid the sale of residency bonds

Radical right-wing Jobbik was the first party to propose the Fundamental Law be amended in response to waves of migrants arriving to Hungary in the spring of 2015.  At that time the Fidesz-controlled parliament refused to take up the issue, only for Fidesz chairman, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to propose his own migration-related amendment in the wake of the October 2 failed referendum

Jobbik reacted by conditioning its support of the proposed amendment on the elimination of the residency bond program, which critics say has diverted hundreds of millions of euros from the Hungarian treasury to offshore companies, even as it has enabled thousands of non-EU citizens to settle in Hungary without being properly vetted by Hungarian authorities for possible terrorist ties.

Fidesz responded to Jobbik’s demands by saying it would not respond to “political blackmail,” and that it had planned to end the program next year anyway, prompting Jobbik to deny Fidesz the three parliamentary votes needed for the amendment to pass.

Now Jobbik has taken Fidesz’s proposal and will submit it to parliament verbatim, with the addition of a single sentence making it unconstitutional for the government to engage in the practice of selling residency bonds. It remains to be seen how many Fidesz MPs will vote for the proposal.