Politicians and supporters of the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) protested outside the National Election Office in Budapest on Saturday, less than 24 hours before the country’s national referendum on “migrant quotas,” which the left-centre opposition is boycotting. Gyula Molnár, MSZP’s party president, was joined by Gergely Karácsony, the popular district mayor of the small Dialogue for Hungary (Párbeszéd Magyarországért) leftist party. Mr. Karácsony suggested that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s hunger for power and his fear of losing it can increasingly be seen as an indication that he has mental health issues. Mr. Karácsony added that his party intends to hold a protest on Sunday, during voting, in front of parliament.
Socialist party activists placed a large banner over the entrance of the National Election Office, christening the department “Fidesz Election Office,” thus expressing their not unfounded belief that election officials in Hungary are not unbiased and they are not independent of the ruling party. Leading politicians and members of the party then shredded documents received from the National Election Office calling on them to participate in Sunday’s referendum.
MSZP also announced that it has set up a hotline for Sunday, encouraging all citizens to call in, if they experience irregularities or electoral fraud during the vote. The majority of the 10,331 voting stations in Hungary will have no monitors from the pro-democracy opposition parties, so Socialists are emphasising the importance of calling the hotline in the case of electoral fraud committed by Fidesz.
A total of 8,272,625 Hungarian citizens are eligible to vote in Sunday’s referendum on EU-wide “migrant quotas,” in which the Orbán government has been campaigning hard for a “no” vote, rejecting such quotas. The Hungarian Socialist Party, the Democratic Coalition, Együtt (Together) and Dialogue for Hungary are all boycotting the vote. The satirical Hungarian Two Tailed Dog Party has been encouraging Hungarians to spoil their ballots. As of October 1st, the National Election Office has received 88,591 mail-in ballots and 17% of those processed have been spoiled by voters.