Official results of Hungary’s general election on Sunday showed that Hungarian nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party had won a fourth term with a much larger margin than polls for previous elections suggested, according to a campaign in the shadow was overshadowed by the war in neighboring Ukraine.
Addressing a jubilant crowd singing his name, many of them wearing Fidesz’s orange party color, Orban said: “We have won a big victory – a victory so great that you can see it maybe of the month and sure of Brussels. “
The Orban administration has repeatedly faced confrontations with the European Union, including over the neutering of the press and the judiciary, and measures targeting the LGBTQ community – including the subject of a vote on Sunday.
The 58-year-old, already the longest-serving head of government in the EU, was challenged by six united opposition parties trying to roll back the “illiberal” revolution that had plagued Orban’s Fidesz party for 12 consecutive years. has pursued.
But with 94 percent of the vote counted, Fidesz was at 53 percent compared to 35 percent for the opposition coalition, according to results from the National Electoral Bureau – a result that means the party retains its two-thirds majority in parliament.
Peter Marki-Zay, 49, the Conservative who leads the opposition list, spoke out in favor of supporters and conceded defeat late Sunday night.
“I will not hide my sorrow and my disappointment,” he told her, accusing Fidesz of fighting a “hate and lying” campaign.
He added that the opposition had done “everything humanly possible”, but that the campaign had been “an unequal struggle”, seeing the way in which he and other anti-Fidesz politicians were almost banned from state media.
MEP Marton Gyongyosi of the right-wing Jobbik party, which is part of the opposition coalition, told AFP that “abuse” had taken place on Sunday, adding: “This will have to be considered when we talk about how the results of ‘ the elections can be respected “.
Orban denied such allegations and insisted the vote was fair.
For the first time, more than 200 international observers are following the election in Hungary, an EU member, along with thousands of domestic volunteers from both camps.
Turnout reached 68.69 percent, almost in line with the record turnout seen in the last national elections in 2018.
The far-right Mi Hazank party has also exceeded expectations and will make its debut in parliament after crossing the minimum threshold of five percent.
“The land destroyed”
Budapest resident Agnes Kunyik, 56, told AFP she had supported the opposition.
“They have destroyed our country, destroyed it,” she said of Fidesz, and became visibly emotional.
But one of those who came out for Orban’s victory celebration, 55-year-old Ildiko Horvath, said that under Fidesz “Hungary is really moving forward,” adding: “On the really important issues like the (Ukraine) war and migrants he always decides in in accordance with what the majority wants. “
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 casts a heavy shadow over the campaign.
Diplomatically, Orban fell in line with EU support for Kiev despite his long-standing proximity to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
But at home, Orban sometimes struck a neutral and even anti-Ukrainian tone, refusing to leave weapons for Ukraine over Hungarian territory.
He called himself the protector of stability and accused the opposition of “warmongering”.
In his victory speech, Orban said: “We have never had so many opponents,” he shouted at a list that included “Brussels bureaucrats … the international mainstream media, and ultimately the Ukrainian president”.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has blamed Orban for criticizing his reluctance to take a tougher stance against Russia.
French and Italian far-right leaders Marine Le Pen and Matteo Salvini were quick on Sunday to offer their congratulations.
Le Pen, who is gaining momentum in polls ahead of the first round of France’s presidential election next week, posted a photo of herself shaking hands with Orban and the caption: “If the people vote, the people will win! “
In addition to electing MPs, Hungarians voted in a referendum designed to elicit support for what Fidesz calls a “child protection” law banning the banning of LGBTQ people under-18s.
Budapest resident Regina, 25 – who declined to give her last name – told AFP she had corrupted her ballot paper in the “distorted” referendum she said had portrayed LGBTQ-Hungarians as an “enemy”.
Partial results showed that the referendum had failed because not enough valid votes had been cast.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)