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Hungarians reject EU migrant quotas

Published: October 3, 2016, 4:13 pm

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    An astonishing 98 per cent of Hungarian voters rejected the imposition of EU migrant quotas.

    Hungary’s anti-immigration president Viktor Orban, had vowed to quit if he failed to win a majority.

    The final result from the country’s historic referendum puts Germany’s Angela Merkel in a difficult spot.

    With more than nine in 10 voters voting against the EU Commission, it is a crushing blow to Merkel’s insistence that member states take in economic refugees.

    Nigel Farage, anti-EU British Brexiter, called the result “stunning”.

    In total 92.3 per cent of people voted “no” to migrant quotas and some six per cent of the ballots were spoiled in protest.

    Many Hungarians turned up to vote in their traditional dress.

    Smiling politicians from Orban’s ruling Fidesz party claimed victory in the historic vote shortly after polling stations closed.

    Government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said the referendum would force Brussels to rethink.

    “As this referendum was initiated by the government, we have no other choice but to consider the citizens’ decision binding to the government. But it is also binding to Brussels, because they cannot go against a referendum.“

    Orban’s critics sought to use turnout as a reason to claim the referendum had failed despite the turnout of more than 3.5 million voters, representing “only” 43.8 percent of voters.

    But Hungary’s referendum to join the EU in 2003 generated 45.6 percent turnout and even then only 83.8 percent voted in favor.

    On Sunday the turnout was 43.8 percent, or 3.6 million voters.

    A triumphant Orban called the results of the referendum “great”. “This will be a strong enough weapon for us in Brussels,” he added.

    “Hungary voted to keep its freedom, its right to decide who we want to live together with, and we decided that we won’t give this right to Brussels.

    “We can be proud that Hungarian people were the first to be given the right to express their opinion on Brussels politics.”

    Orban who has been leading the ‘keep them out’ campaign, said Europeans should follow Hungary’s lead: “Unfortunately we are the only one until now in the European Union who have managed to have a referendum on the migrant crisis.

    He called on EU member states to rebel against the beleaguered European Union (EU) over the migrant crisis.

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