- 20 Oct 2016 9:00 AM
Gyula Molnár, noting to commercial broadcaster ATV that the amendment required Jobbik’s support to pass because ruling Fidesz does not command a two-thirds majority, added that the radical party’s leader, Gábor Vona, had told Orbán that his support depended on the government scrapping the residency bond scheme and refusing to accept any kind of migrants into the country.
“The electorate will decide in time whether this is just posturing or not,” Molnár said, adding that the Socialists had raised the same issue as Jobbik three weeks ago. Molnár said the referendum on migrant quotas earlier in the month did not provide a basis for changing the constitution, so there was no case for the Socialists to make any ultimatum connected with it.
He said the Socialists were not inclined to negotiate with the prime minister over the constitutional amendment. However, given the case that Orbán wanted to brief the leader of the biggest opposition party, it had been incumbent on him to attend, Molnár said, adding they had discussed this week’s European Union summit at Tuesday’s meeting.
On the topic of a joint left-wing nomination for president of the republic, he said the person in question had accepted, though he did not reveal who this was, only to say: “He is very well-known, very publicly respected and not unknown in politics”.
It is likely that he will be publicly named in December, he added. A government communications official told public radio that Jobbik did not wish to take the will of the people into consideration and it appeared that it would not support amending the constitution.
Cabinet state secretary in charge of government communications Bence Tuzson called the Jobbik leader’s conduct “peculiar” given the party had already given its “umpteenth” condition for backing the amendment. He said the current situation was “discreditable”. “We think and perhaps we can suppose, too, that the real will of Jobbik is not to support changing the constitution,” he said, adding that it was “regrettable” that the Socialist Party also refused to back the measure.
Later in the day, Lajos Kósa, group leader of Fidesz, said that “Vona talks all over the place and lies”. He argued that when Fidesz had proposed public consultations on migration, Vona called for a referendum, and when Fidesz proposed the same thing, Vona called it unnecessary and proposed a constitutional amendment instead.
“Now that the prime minister has submitted the amendment bill, Vona has all sorts of preconditions,” Kósa insisted. Kósa also cited Vona as branding earlier “anyone that votes against the anti-resettlement amendment” a traitor. He also added that the constitutional amendment and residency bonds were “not connected in any way”.
Kósa later told public news channel M1 that the constitutional amendment proposal needed the supporting votes of three opposition lawmakers in order to pass. “This might be achieved” with votes possibly cast in favour of the proposal by lawmakers of radical nationalist Jobbik, he said.
“Several members of Jobbik said earlier that they would support the amendment proposal,” Kósa said. “They have not said that they did not agree with [Jobbik leader] Gábor Vona, but this is the conclusion that can be drawn,” he said.
Republished with permission of Hungary Matters, MTI’s daily newsletter.
MTI photo: Soós Lajos