Hungarian Opposition to Reintroduce Migrant Ban Amendment

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Hungary’s right-wing Jobbik party is to resubmit a proposed constitutional amendment to parliament which would ban the resettlement of migrants in the country, after it fell thanks to its own members voting against it.

The party’s representatives in parliament were slammed as a “bunch of softies” by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán for boycotting a vote last week to ratify the results of a recent referendum on whether to accept the migrant quota handed down by Brussels.

The vote fell two short of achieving the two-thirds majority of 133 required to pass the amendment.

But Jobbik have countered that they boycotted the vote because Orbán’s Fidesz party were refusing to add a rider to scrap a scheme allowing foreigners to buy residency rights. Following the government’s refusal to bring the issue back to parliament, Jobbik have announced that they will be reintroducing the amendment – with the rider attached.

Gabor Vona, the party’s chairman, told reporters he planned to resubmit the amendment verbatim, with just a one-sentence addition, the Independent has reported.

“We have always been against the residency bonds,” Mr. Vona said. “With the plebiscite after the referendum we received an opportunity to raise this issue in a much more powerful way.

“It is downright absurd that just two weeks ago, after an anti-immigrant campaign … the government opened a residency bond sales point in Iraq, not far from the centre of Isis.”

Vona said the residency scheme was evidence of endemic corruption in the Hungarian state apparatus, an allegation denied by the Hungarian government.

“Now we’ll see how important the constitutional amendment is for [Mr. Orbán’s party] Fidesz,” Mr. Vona said.

Giving way to Jobbik’s demands to add the line on residency permits would have been politically difficult for Mr. Orban, who on Friday said he would not be resubmitting the amendment. It remains to be seen how he will deal with Jobbik’s proposal to bring the amendment back to parliament.

The lastest polling, conducted by Tarki, shows support for Jobbik at 10 per cent in October, down from 14 per cent in July. Fidesz, meanwhile, has strengthened its lead by two points to reach 32 per cent. The next election is due to take place in 2018.

In light of strong popular opposition to the migrant relocation scheme, the European Union signalled on Monday that it may not take action against those countries who do not wish to take part.

Last September EU countries agreed to relocate 160,000 migrants from Greece and Italy. On Monday European Commission spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud said that “it should be possible to relocate everyone and that is what it is important to focus on”.

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