“The Government is calling on repatriated cross-border Hungarians to participate in the referendum”, Government spokesperson Zoltán Kovács said in Tusnádfürdő at a forum organised during the 27th Bálványos Summer Free University.

“The quota referendum is about whether Hungarians are prepared to accept the fact that others decide in their place on fundamental issues and the quota referendum has also become a symbolic cause of national reunification in view of the fact that this is the first time that it has become possible for repatriated cross-border Hungarians to also express their opinions in a Hungarian referendum”, he explained.

According to Mr. Kovács, this is precisely why the Government is not planning a separate campaign for the repatriated Hungarian community, its message is consistent for the whole nation, but officials involved with Hungarians living outside the country’s borders will be visiting Hungarian communities within the Carpathian Basin during the course of August and September to assist in raising awareness and their mobilisation.

President of the National Election Office Ilona Pálffy told the press: 259 thousand repatriated Hungarians have registered so far, meaning the participation limit required for the referendum to be valid has risen to 4 million 230 thousand. The referendum will be valid if more than fifty percent of those eligible to vote place a legitimate vote, and this includes repatriated Hungarians who have applied to be included on the electoral register.

Ms. Pálffy pointed out that Hungarian citizens living outside Hungary can vote by post providing they have registered to be included on the electoral register. People who have already been entered onto the register on or after August 2013 do not have to register again unless their personal information has since changed. There will be more time available to send out voter packs than during the 2014 parliamentary elections: the posting of the more than a quarter of a million packs will begin after 20 August.

Postal votes must reach the Election Office by 1 October, but may also be submitted at Hungarian foreign representations, which are operating with extended opening hours during the period before the referendum, from 17 September.

Ministerial Commissioner for Simplified Repatriation Tamás Wetzel said that 850 thousand requests for citizenship had been submitted so far and 780 thousand people had taken their citizenship oath, adding that the issue had, however, been the subject of much political criticism.

The repatriation of Hungarians living abroad and the 2014 postal vote were an unblemished success, so hopefully handling the referendum should also not post a problem for foreign representations, he said, adding that the number of registered voters is relatively high and more than half of the adult Hungarian citizens living beyond the country’s borders have already applied to be included on the electoral register.

At the Tusványos forum, Hungarian Consul General to Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca) Lajos Mile explained: “The situation of Hungarians living across the border is different in that the majority are not directly affected by migration, so the goal is for them to participate in the referendum as an active part of their Hungarian identity”.