Nationalist Orban elected for third term in Hungary

09 April, 2018, 01:03 | Author: Jason Torres
  • Hungary election: Viktor Orban's Fidesz party hopes for third straight term

Hungary started general elections on Sunday to elect a 199-seat parliament, which could make the current Prime Minister Viktor Orban succeed in a third straight term.

Eve-of-vote polls suggest that Mr Orban is on track to win a third consecutive four-year term in office following a bitter campaign in which he demonised Middle Eastern migrants as "Muslim invaders".

The rightwing nationalist prime minister projected himself as a savior of Hungary's Christian culture against Muslim migration into Europe an image which resonated with millions of voters, especially in rural areas. "For reasons of safety, we don't work anymore the way that we used to", said Annastiina Kallius of the Migrant Solidarity Group of Hungary.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of Poland's governing PiS party, sees an Orban as an ally in his own run-ins with Brussels and gave Orban his endorsement on Friday.

There is also a slight chance that the fragmented opposition could strip Fidesz of its parliament majority if voters frustrated with Orban's policies choose tactical voting in the 106 constituencies.

Voter turnout in the first hours of voting in Hungary's election is the highest since 1998.

He said voter turnout would determine the outcome.

"This is one of the most unpredictable elections", said Attila Juhasz, an analyst at Political Capital in Budapest.

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Karacsony, who heads the joint list of the Socialist Party and the Dialogue party, also said President Janos Ader, a former lawmaker for Orban's Fidesz party, had "omitted a very serious task" by not calling for Hungarians to cast their ballots in the election.

For rebellions such as refusal to meet EU requirements on accepting mass migration, accusations of violations of university freedom, freedom of assembly and association, social rights, and alleged "everyday corruption", the European Union could stop money going to Hungary, or even insist Hungary repays funds already given.

But he's unlikely to repeat the landslide wins of the past two elections as a resurgent - if still divided - opposition has sought to capitalize on widespread claims of cronyism and intimidation.

Orban is expected to continue his economic policies, with income tax cuts and incentives to boost growth, analysts have said.

Heartened by a recent poll showing more Hungarians would prefer for Orban to go than to stay, the opposition has shifted its focus from coordination to get-out-the-vote campaigns.

The fierce anti-immigrant campaign has gone down well with around two million core voters of Fidesz.

After casting his vote in a wealthy district of Budapest with his wife, Orban said Hungary's future was at stake in the vote.

Asked whether he was fighting the EU he said: "The EU is not in Brussels".

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