MPs re­ject Or­ban anti-refugee bill

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

Hun­gary’s par­lia­ment has re­jected an at­tempt by Prime Min­is­ter Vik­tor Or­ban to block the set­tle­ment of refugees. His rul­ing Fidesz party failed to at­tract the two ex­tra op­po­si­tion votes nec­es­sary for a two-thirds ma­jor­ity in par­lia­ment. The bill had sought to re­buff an EU-set quota scheme that would re­lo­cate 1,294 refugees in Hun­gary. It was the lat­est move in Mr Or­ban’s anti-EU and anti-mi­grant drive, say correspondents. But he was thwarted by the anti-im­mi­gra­tion Job­bik party, which nor­mally would have been viewed as a nat­u­ral sup­porter of the bill. Job­bik had de­manded Mr Or­ban scrap a cash-for-res­i­dency bond scheme al­low­ing wealthy for­eign­ers to buy spe­cial state bonds for €300,000 giv­ing them the right to live in Hun­gary. Job­bik ar­gued the im­mi­gra­tion ban should ap­ply to all for­eign­ers. Mr Or­ban re­fused, call­ing the move “black­mail”. This is the sec­ond set­back for Prime Min­is­ter Vik­tor Or­ban’s re­lent­less anti-mi­grant cam­paign in a mat­ter of weeks, say correspondents. Mr Or­ban called the vote in par­lia­ment af­ter a di­vi­sive ref­er­en­dum on 2 Oc­to­ber, again over the EU’s 2015 re­set­tle­ment scheme to re­lo­cate 160,000 refugees across the bloc. Of those who voted, 98% - or 3.3m vot­ers - sup­ported Hun­gar­ian Prime Min­is­ter Vic­tor Or­ban’s call to block the quo­tas. But only 40.4% of vot­ers cast valid bal­lots, short of the re­quired 50% thresh­old. Nev­er­the­less, he de­clared vic­tory and im­me­di­ately called the con­sti­tu­tional vote.

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