Anti-immigration PM wins big in Hungary elections

Adjust Comment Print

With nearly all of the results counted from the vote on April 8th, Fidesz appears likely to have won a two-thirds super-majority, with 133 of the chamber's 199 seats-enough to alter the country's constitution all by itself. The block is two-thirds of parliamentary seats (133).

Some other European Union members are likely to view Orban's renewed internal dominance with trepidation, given his repeated run-ins with Brussels institutions over his hardline anti-immigration policies and rejection of the EU's refugee resettlement programme, as well as his moves to clamp down on civil society groups.

"We want Hungary to remain a Hungarian country", Orban said.

"It will be easier for Orban to talk with the EU [about migration] after his victory, because the European democracies respect those with public support".

In September, Orban's government erected a fence on the Serbian border to keep them out, and the unrelenting anti-immigration stance has been central to his policies ever since.

In an editorial in the weekly Heti Valasz before the vote, editor-in-chief Borokai cited Orban's recent track record in a decades-long list of political disappointments, saying the key question of the election was whether it would produce any change.

The committee receives support from Soros's Open Society Foundations and is frequently identified by the government as one of the "foreign agents" supposedly working against Hungary's national interests.

In the election campaign, Orban drove home the far right's xenophobic, anti-immigration pledges about protecting natives from an onslaught of risky and impure outsiders, especially Muslims.

Since his party's victory in 2014, moreover, Orban has become even more radical.

However, there are still internal problems in Hungary, including "corruption, which is very high, and the aggressive, rude and patronizing rhetoric this party [Fidesz] has allowed itself towards the Hungarian people on many occasions", according to Stier.

Orban's clampdown on nongovernmental organizations also is based on his belief that only elected officials have the right to be involved in politics.

"I don't see any program from the opposition, " Csorba said. Nationalist Jobbik was projected to win 26 seats, with the Socialists in third place with 20 lawmakers.

Supporters of Fidesz party react to the preliminary results of parliamentary election in Budapest, Hungary, April 8, 2018. He also dismisses Hungary being ranked the EU's second-most corrupt country by Transparency International.

The Jobbik Party's foreign affairs chair, Marton Gyongyosi, blamed Orban for overreliance on the migrant issue during the "hysterical" election campaign.

"There is a big battle behind us", he said, speaking at the Fidesz campaign headquarters.

Hungary's goal should be ethnic homogeneity, says Orban, not western Europe's false multiculturalism that extols diversity at the expense of natives. Many hoped that it heralded a possible repeat of a mayoral by-election in the Fidesz stronghold in Hodmezovasarhely in southern Hungary, where strong voter participation swept a single opposition candidate to power in February. Hungary's Prime Minister has been shaking his fist and defying their mandates for years, and has clearly leveraged the resentment many of his countryman feel toward European Union supremacy into a massive victory at the polls.