Saturday, May 28, 2022

Hungarian nationalist PM Viktor Orban wins 4th election

BUDAPEST, April 4 (Reuters) – Hungary’s nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban scored a fourth consecutive landslide win in Sunday’s election, as voters endorsed his ambition of a conservative, “illiberal” state and shrugged off concerns over Budapest’s close ties with Moscow.

Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine had appeared to upend Orban’s campaign in recent weeks, forcing him into awkward maneuvering to explain decade-old cozy business relations with President Vladimir Putin.

But he mounted a successful campaign to persuade his Fidesz party’s core electorate that the six-party opposition alliance of Peter Marki-Zay promising to mend ties with the European Union could lead the country into war, an accusation the opposition denied.

Surrounded by leading party members, a triumphant Orban, 58, said Sunday’s victory came against all odds.

“We have scored a victory so big, that it can be seen even from the Moon,” he said. “We have defended Hungary’s sovereignty and freedom.”

Preliminary results with about 98% of national party list votes counted showed Orban’s Fidesz party leading with 58.12% of votes versus 30.41% for Marki-Zay’s opposition alliance. Fidesz was also winning 88 of 106 single-member constituencies.

In his victory speech, Mr. Orban criticized Brussels bureaucrats and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, calling them “opponents”.

“We never had so many opponents,” he said cited by AFP. “Brussels bureaucrats… the international mainstream media, and the Ukrainian president.”

The opposition complained that Orban’s party Fidesz had isolated Hungary from the European mainstream, and from consensual democracy, fairness, and decency.