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Hungary Migrant Quotas Rejected by Voters in Low Turnout

Image: Hungary Migrant Quotas Rejected by Voters in Low Turnout

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his wife Aniko Levai vote in a polling station in Budapest during a general referendum over Brussels-issued quotas for relocating refugees and migrants among European Union member states. (Alexey Vitvitsky/Sputnik via AP)

By    |   Monday, 03 Oct 2016 01:52 PM

Hungary migrant quotas recommended by the European Union were rejected at the ballot box by voters Sunday, but the turnout was too low to make the decision valid.

Hungary's National Election Office website reported that 98.3 percent of those who voted had rejected the quotas, according to Reuters. But only 40 percent of the 8.26 million eligible voters took part in the referendum, falling short of the 50 percent needed to legitimize the results. The final results on the referendum will not be known until next week.

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban, who had hoped to use the vote to shut the door to more refugees, still called the vote an "outstanding" victory since those who voted were nearly unanimous in their opposition to EU migrant quotas, according to The Guardian.

"Today is a sweeping victory for all those who reject the EU's mandatory, unlimited quotas," Gergely Gulyás, deputy head of Orban's Fidesz party said, according to The Guardian. "It is a sweeping victory for all those who believe that the foundations of a strong European Union can only be the strong nation states."

Critics, though, said that since 60 percent of the voters stayed home rather than vote in the election, Orban and Fidesz's claims of victory are exaggerated.

"In his speech, the prime minister failed to recognize the reality," Viktor Szigetvári, the leader of Együtt, Hungary's liberal opposition party, said, according to The Guardian. "The majority of Hungarians stayed away from the polls and what's been left behind is a divided country. To heal this, we need a change in government."

Orban has threatened, according to The Telegraph, that if the vote is officially ruled invalid, he will lead parliament to pass legislation to advance the referendum's goal.

"The most important issue next week is for me to go to Brussels, hold negotiations and try with the help of this result – if the result is appropriate – achieve for it not to be mandatory to take in the kind of people in Hungary we don't want to," Orban said, according to The Telegraph.

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Hungary migrant quotas recommended by the European Union were rejected at the ballot box by voters Sunday, but the turnout was too low to make the decision valid.
hungary, migrant, quotas, rejected
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2016-52-03
Monday, 03 Oct 2016 01:52 PM
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