Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said that his Fidesz party's opposition to LGBT rights would be a central issue in Hungary's national election next year.

To drive conservative voters to the polls, Orban said that migration and LGBT rights would dominate the agenda of his party. Both issues have caused conflict with the European Union.

European leaders have called for sanctions against Hungary, an EU member since 2014, over a law approved in June that prohibits the discussion of LGBT issues, including transgenderism and homosexuality, to minors. It has been compared to Russia's 2013 law that prohibits “gay propaganda.” Russia has used the law to silence LGBT activists.

Lawmakers have approved a referendum on the issue, though voters will not be voting directly on the law. Voters will be asked whether they support the promotion of homosexuality or transgenderism to children without parental consent in schools or the media.

The AP reported that the referendum could be held on the same day as a national election in the spring that has Orban and his Fidesz party on the ballot.

According to Reuters, the fallout from a sputtering economy has united Orban's centrist and liberal-left rivals. Orban is trailing in some polls.

Reuters described Orban, 58, as “casting himself as the defender of traditional Hungarian values against 'LGBT ideology' for the 2022 election.”

"The role of the anti-LGBT campaign could be mainly to give another strong reason to existing Fidesz supporters to vote for this government, cementing the core camp in its convictions," Andras Biro-Nagy, director of think tank Policy Solutions, told Reuters.