Hungary's maverick right-wing leader, whose hardline policy on migration has been criticized by human rights groups but is popular at home, nevertheless said EU policymakers should heed the "outstanding" referendum outcome.
|Hungarian women attend a referendum on EU migrant quotas. (Photo: Reuters)
Orban said more Hungarians had rejected the migrant quotas than had voted for European Union membership in a referendum ahead of Hungary's 2004 accession to the bloc.
Some 3.249 million votes were cast rejecting the quotas, compared with 2003's 3.056 million votes in favor of joining the EU.
"Thirteen years after a large majority of Hungarians voted at a referendum to join the European Union, today Hungarians made their voices heard again in a European issue," Orban said.
"We have achieved an outstanding result, because we have surpassed the outcome of the accession referendum," he told a news conference at which he did not take questions.
The National Election Office said on its website that 98.3% of those who voted had rejected the quotas with 99.97% of votes counted. Just 40% of around 8.26 million eligible people had cast a valid vote, however, less than the 50% needed to legitimize the result. Final results are expected next week.Reuters