Orban’s referendum – no triumph, no defeat

Hungary’s refugee referendum not valid after voters stay away

PM Viktor Orbán fails to convince 50% of electorate to turn out, but those who did so voted to exclude new refugees

By Patrick Kingsley

The Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, has failed to convince a majority of his population to vote in a referendum on closing the door to refugees, rendering the result invalid and undermining his campaign for a cultural counter-revolution within the European Union.

More than 95% of participants in Sunday’s referendum sided with Orbán by voting against the admission of refugees to Hungary, allowing him to claim an “outstanding” victory. But more than half of the electorate stayed at home, rendering the process constitutionally null and void.

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