Voting has been slow in the Hungarian referendum on granting dual citizenship to millions of their ethnic kin living abroad. The issue has turned into a political showdown between the Socialist government, headed by Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany, and the Conservative opposition.
The premier has accused his opposite number of “stirring nationalism” and said Hungary needs to look to the future. Gyurcsany believes former prime minister and opposition leader Victor Orban is using the issue to try to regain power. Orban, however, claims a ‘yes’ vote would heal the hurt caused by the carve-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the end of World War I, when Hungary was stripped of two thirds of its land and 60 per cent of its population. Opinion polls suggest voters will endorse citizenship but that too few will turn out to make the referendum valid. The result is expected tonight.