Hungarian PM Viktor Orban's anti-migrant amendment rejected

By Andrew V. Pestano  |  Nov. 8, 2016 at 8:22 AM
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BUDAPEST, Hungary, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's anti-migrant proposal to block a European Union quota seeking to resettle asylum seekers has been rejected by Parliament.

Orban's ruling Fidesz party failed to gain two additional votes on Tuesday needed to pass the constitutional amendment with a two-thirds majority in Hungary's National Assembly unicameral legislature.

The E.U. sought to relocate 1,294 refugees in Hungary, which Orban and his allies were working to prevent. The vote failed because the Jobbik anti-immigration party, which normally would have supported the bill, abstained.

Jobbik called on Orban to abandon a cash-for-residency bond plan that would allow wealthy foreigners to buy special state bonds for $330,000 in return for the right to live in Hungary. Jobbik said the immigration ban should apply to all foreigners but Orban refused, calling Jobbik's actions "blackmail" and likening their refusal to vote as treason.

"The traitor is the one who allows terrorists into the country for money," a sign held up by Jobbik during the vote read.

Hungry had previously refused to accept the E.U.-designated asylum seekers. Hungry has taken the European Commission to the European Court of Justice over the case and a ruling is expected next year.

A migrant crisis escalated throughout 2015 as people fled conflict and poverty in Syria, and also Afghanistan, Eritrea and Iraq. Migrants have arrived in Europe via the Mediterranean Sea and also by land through Turkey and Greece.

Last year, about 1,015,000 people crossed the Mediterranean to Europe. This year, about 330,000 have made the crossing so far.

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