Will Orbán fail with his anti-migrant policy?
After the failed referendum against EU refugee quotas, Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán has also been unsuccessful in his attempt to have his anti-refugee bill passed by parliament. The far-right Jobbik party withheld its support after Orbán refused to accept its condition of an end to residence permits for rich foreigners. Migration policy has become Orbán's nemesis, some commentators believe. For others he has emerged strengthened from the confrontation.
The defeat in parliament underscores the failure of Orbán's migration policy, political scientist Gábor Török concludes in his blog Törökgáborelemez:
“If the goal of ruling party Fidesz was on the one hand to take effective action against migration and on the other to achieve the goals it formulated in the course of its campaign as regards refugee policy, then this current defeat in parliament - together with the October 2 referendum - call into question the government's entire course in recent months. It's hard to refute the claim that the net results of a political campaign that lasted several months and gobbled up substantial budget funds are - as things stand now - an invalid referendum and a failed constitutional amendment. Based on this state of affairs Orbán and Fidesz have definitely failed.”
Vote puts Jobbik under pressure
Despite the failure of his plan to amend the constitution Orbán could emerge strengthened from this dispute, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung concurs:
“The government is doing all it can to portray quotas and [Jobbik's demand for a stop to] residency permits [for rich foreigners from Russia, China and the Middle East] as incoherent and Jobbik's resistance as unpatriotic. Fidesz can also point to the fact that the right-wing extremists themselves called for a constitutional amendment and that their flip-flop on this issue has damaged their credibility. It is mainly up to Jobbik to do the explaining now. Orbán, on the other hand, may emerge strengthened from this confrontation given that to many he now looks like the only 'true' patriot on the right.”
Orbán's power still unbroken
Although Hungary's left, liberals and the far-right Jobbik party all voted against Orbán's refugee policy there is no sign of a strong opposition in the country, the Frankfurter Rundschau laments:
“Orbán's governing Fidesz party has an extremely stable power base because it only has to contend with two weak opposition groups: on the left and on the far right. They are so far apart that political alliances or even consultations are out of the question. The neo-fascists, who have long been the second-strongest political force, now have other ambitions. Orbán thought he controlled the far right and that he could do as he pleased with it. That's no longer the case. The Hungarian right is up for a fight. Jobbik is making moves to strip Orbán of his exclusive hold on power. The party is still far from this goal, but the next elections are slated for 2018.”