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Orban’s weird referendum threshold

Orban - outdoorOn 2 October Hungarians will vote in a referendum about European refugee quotas. In reality, it will be an orchestrated charade.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban is trying to divert attention from the deterioration of public services and the restriction of fundamental freedoms, which have sparked protests among doctors, teachers, journalists and the general public.

The question couldn’t possibly be more biased: “Do you want the European Union to be able to mandate the obligatory resettlement of non-Hungarian citizens into Hungary even without the approval of the National Assembly?” Really?

Frankly, this is not about the refugee quotas.

This is about identity politics, about polarising Hungarian society and about scapegoating foreigners. This is about creating new problems to cover up real problems.

If we were to take this referendum seriously, we would have seen one when the New Reactionary Constitution of Hungary was passed. How many referendums were then called? None, zero.

If Orban himself were to take the referendum seriously, he would have explained by now what its legal consequences would be. You just guessed it, he hasn’t.

Maybe we could recommend Mr. Orban alternative questions for a referendum, such as “Would you have voted for Mr. Orban had you known that he was to impoverish Hungary, destroy the separation of powers and increase inequality?” or “Would you like PM Orban to dictate ridiculous policies concerning your private life even against all common sense?”

One of Orban’s role model, Margaret Thatcher, once quoted said Clement Attlee, the former British Labour PM, when he said “the referendum is a device of dictators and demagogues”. It may not always be the case, but it definitely is this time around.

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