The Polish Press Agency (PAP) has quoted a source in the EP that abstinent votes will not be counted as cast votes during voting over the triggering of Article 7. Such a decision increases the risk of a negative decision for Viktor Orbán.
The voting over the document calling for triggering Article 7 against Hungary will take place on Wednesday in the European Parliament in Strasburg. The authors of the document claim that Hungary has broken the rule of law.
Hungarian Fidesz EMPs have been warning since last week that a political trick could be used to trigger Article 7. For the European Parliament to accept the document, there must be a 2/3 majority of votes. If other EMPs abstain from voting, then this majority will possibly not be reached.
The same trick again
The issue is whether abstained votes should be counted. The 7.1 article of the Treaty only states that for the Council of the European Union to take action “two thirds of given votes are needed”. Whether abstinent votes should be counted is up for interpretation.
The same mechanism was used against Polish Law and Justice (PiS) EMP Ryszard Czarnecki when he was voted out of his position of Vice President of the European Parliament. Then, the result was uncertain and the decision to exclude abstinent votes decided on Czarnecki losing his position.