Hungarians' views on migrants have been heard, says prime minister

Prime Minister Victor Orban speaking to journalists after casting his vote. Credit: Reuters

Hungary's prime minister Victor Orban called the results of the country's anti-migrant referendum "outstanding" after a huge majority voted against European Union migrant quotas.

With nearly 100% of votes counted, 98.3% had rejected the EU quotas, according to figures posted on the National Election Office website.

However, overall turnout came to just 40%, less than the 50% needed to make the result valid.

Mr Orban had been campaigning for a rejection of the quotas.

Speaking in a press conference, he said Hungarians had made their voices heard.

"We have achieved an outstanding result," he said, adding that he would submit an amendment to Hungary's constitution to put the result into law.

The voting paper consisted of one question: "Do you want the European Union to be entitled to proscribe the mandatory settlement of non-Hungarian citizens in Hungary without the consent of the National Assembly (Parliament)?"

Rather than trying to win, the opposition urged their supporters to stay at home and reduce the turnout figures.

Hungarian and Polish policeman patrol at the Hungary and Serbia border fence. Credit: Reuters

Over the past year, Hungary has seen its southern border sealed with a razor wire fence and thousands of army and police border controls.

In that time it has recorded around 18,000 illegal border crossings as the numbers of migrants fleeing war and poverty has swelled.

In a letter published in a newspaper on Saturday, the prime minister urged Hungarians to send a message to the EU that its migration policies were flawed and posed a threat to Europe's security.

"We can send the message that it is only up to us, European citizens, whether we can jointly force the Union to come to its senses or let it destroy itself," he wrote.