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2016.06.24. Press release regarding the refugee quota referendum
The Constitutional Court in two decisions rejected the petitions that challenged the Parliamentary resolutions ordering a referendum on refugee quotas.

In connection with the referendum on refugee quotas, four petitions were submitted to the Constitutional Court. Three of them requested the examination of the parliamentary resolution ordering a referendum. The fourth one requested the examination and annulment of the decision of the Curia, which upheld the decision of the National Election Committee related to the authentication of the question raised in the referendum.

According to the petitions related to the parliamentary resolution – including the petition of Tibor Szanyi MEP –, the resolution was adopted unconstitutionally, thus they requested its annulment. The petitioners referred to, inter alia, the proposal of the European Commission to reform the Common European Asylum System, as it changed the circumstances significantly, because if Hungary stays out the allocation mechanism it may cause extra charge for the country.

During the proceeding, the Constitutional Court could not examine the content of the referendum question, as only the proceeding of the ordering of the referendum can be the subject of the examination of constitutionality and legality. The Constitutional Court conducted the proceeding out of turn.

According to the reasoning of the decision, the Constitutional Court declared that it was not contrary to the Fundamental Law that only the Parliamentary Committee on Justice hold a debate about the ordering of the referendum, and the parliamentary proceeding was not contrary to the Rules of Procedures of the Hungarian Assembly.  In connection with the above mentioned Proposal of the European Commission, the Constitutional Court did not declare that the parliamentary resolution was adopted contrary to the Fundamental Law.

Referring to one of the petitioners’ standpoint, namely that the subject of the referendum concerned the EU common policies, the Constitutional Court underlined that the merits of the referendum question shall not be examined in the current procedure.

The other petition – which requested the examination of the decision of the Curia – was submitted by Gábor Fodor MP, President of Hungarian Liberal Party. The Curia in its decision upheld the decision of the National Election Committee and allowed to hold a referendum on refugee quotas. In the petition, the merit of the referendum question was challenged, and the petitioner requested the annulment of the decision of the Curia. The petitioner alleged, inter alia, that the question raised in the referendum belongs to EU competence, thus it shall not be the subject of a referendum. The question on the ballot paper will ask whether you are in favour of the EU being allowed to make the settlement of non-Hungarians obligatory in Hungary even if the Hungarian Parliament does not agree.

The Constitutional Court rejected this petition too, mainly because the petitioner was not concerned in person by the decision of the Curia. According to the Act on the Constitutional Court, in order to initiate a constitutional complaint proceeding, the petitioner shall be affected personally by the challenged decision. The Constitutional Court pointed out in the reasoning of the decision that referring to the violation of the principle of rule of law and of legal certainty, constitutional complaint shall be submitted exceptionally, only in case of prohibition of retroactive legislation or lack of adequate time for preparation. The reasoning stated that constitutional prescriptions of the achievement of European unity and the common exercise of the competences shall not be considered as fundamental rights, thus it shall not be referred to in a constitutional complaint procedure.

As the decision of the Constitutional Court upheld the parliamentary resolution, the President of the Republic shall set the date of the referendum.

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