What will they think of next?

This on CT.

Amidst all the election news of the past month from all over, I have had little energy to compile a post about a referendum taking place tomorrow in Hungary: extending Hungarian citizenship to Hungarians living outside of Hungary’s borders. (Pick any country around Hungary and you’ll find relevant populations from Slovakia to Romania, from Serbia to Ukraine). When a nationalist party becomes desperate in securing votes, it comes up with interesting ideas. Why not extend voting rights to all Hungarians across the globe? Those who left in 1956 or who live as frustrated minorities in other countries may be the perfect targets for their nationalistic message. Give those people voting rights and the party may be able to secure quite a bit of popularity in the future.

Apparently there are no details about what it would take for people to prove their Hungarian “origins” (seems like opening a can of worms to be asking that kind of a question in this area of the world). That may be one aspect that would allow the current government (made up of parties that are not backing this initiative) to temper the effects of a majority yes vote.

One facet of all this of additional interest to me is how the country would proceed with the voting rights of those living abroad. The only way those of us abroad can currently cast our votes is to go to the Hungarian embassy in the country in which we reside. Obviously, this leads to few votes from those not residing in Hungary. For the initiative to be really effective, they would have to tweak this part of the system as well.

The outcome of the referendum tomorrow will only count if at least a quarter of those eligible to vote – so about two million people – plus one vote for the same outcome.

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