‘Spoil-your-vote’ success boosts Hungarian spoof party


A Hungarian spoof party said Tuesday it plans to run for parliament after its satirical “Spoil-your-vote” campaign against Hungary’s anti-migrant referendum Sunday contributed to a record number of invalid ballots.

Some 223,000 people, or 6.3 percent of those voting, had cast invalid ballots, a record high for a Hungarian vote, according to local media.

“A lot of people took our advice, so we have decided to stand for election” in 2018, the leader of the Two-Tailed-Dog Party (MKKP), Gergo Kovacs, told AFP.

The poll, which sought to reject the EU’s disputed refugee quota plan, was declared void because of low voter turnout, dealing a blow to populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

His rightwing government had spent millions of euros on a costly media offensive, which saw lampposts and billboards nationwide plastered with posters linking immigration with terrorism and crime.

“Did You Know? Brussels wants to settle a city-sized number of illegal migrants in Hungary,” read one.

Opposition parties and rights groups slammed the campaign for stirring up xenophobia and called on Hungarians to boycott the vote or spoil their ballot.

The MKKP put up thousands of spoof posters that also started with the question “Did You Know?”, but gave answers such as “More than a million people want to leave Hungary for Europe” or “The average Hungarian is more likely to see a UFO than a refugee in his lifetime”.

They all carried the caption “A stupid answer for a stupid question… Spoil Your Vote”.

The MKKP, which has run spoof election campaigns before, said it was confident it could collect the necessary signatures to get on the ballot paper in 2018, but added that it would “probably not have a serious manifesto”.

Although 98.3 percent of voters backed Orban’s hardline anti-migrant stance, only 3.3 million votes were cast in the referendum, well short of the 50-percent threshold to make the poll legally binding.

Despite the invalid result, Orban declared “a sweeping victory” in his revolt against Brussels and vowed to change the constitution to “reflect the will of the people”.

© 2016 AFP

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