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Ruling party takes big lead in Hungary election

09 April, 2018, 00:45 | Author: Candice Daniels
  • Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban attends the last campaign event of his Fidesz party in the town of Szekesfehervar

Following an acrimonious campaign in which the rightwing nationalist prime minister projected himself as a saviour of Hungary's Christian culture against Muslim migration into Europe, all opinion polls had put his Fidesz party well ahead.

Although Orban's actions, including refusing to participate in the EU's refugee resettlement scheme, have sometimes annoyed other European governments, Fidesz is afforded a measure of protection by virtue of its membership of the main centre-right EPP grouping in the European Parliament.

Meanwhile, Jobbik leader Gabor Vona cast his ballot in the northeastern town of Gyongyos, saying that the result would "determine the fate of Hungary not just for four years but. for two generations".

Critics have dubbed Orban the "Viktator" and say new electoral laws have rigged the system in favour of his right-wing Fidesz party.

Hungary's parliamentary election on Sunday could produce the highest turnout on record, ruling Fidesz party parliamentary group leader Gergely Gulyas said, adding that it would give strong legitimacy to the next parliament.

Maltby said she first visited Hungary as a child, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, when the West believed the country was the vanguard of eastern Europe's liberal capitalist future.

'Figures show that it will be an election with a high voter turnout.

Orban is seeking his third consecutive term and fourth overall since 1998.

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According to Orban and his ministers, Hungary will descend into chaos should it become an "immigrant country" like France or Belgium.

Orban is credited with keeping the budget deficit under control, reducing unemployment and some of Hungary's debt, and putting its economy on a growth track.

Orban also explained that he voted early in the morning because he wanted to continue his mobilizing campaign in the course of the day and urged every Hungarian to participate in the elections.

Voting in Hungary's parliamentary election officially has ended, but numerous polling places are still open to accommodate long lines of people waiting to cast ballots.

In March the government gave pre-election handouts to millions of families and pensioners.

However, the polls could be unreliable as one-third of voters are undecided and many hide their voting preference.

The alliance of the left-wing Socialist and Dialogue parties had 11.8 percent, meaning it would have 19 deputies in parliament. Voter turnout was estimated between 64 and 68 percent.

Orban's unorthodox economic policies have included special taxes, many of them targeting foreign firms, the nationalisation of private pension funds and forcing utilities to cut prices. Businessmen close to Fidesz have acquired stakes in major industries like banking, energy, construction and tourism, profiting from European Union funds.

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