Poland's PM hails victory of Hungarian populist Orban

Marsha Scott
April 11, 2018

Near-complete results showed that Orban's right-wing Fidesz party romped home with nearly half the vote (48.8 percent), highly likely giving it a two-thirds majority and a legislative carte blanche.

Fidesz won 133 of parliament's 199 seats, according to results with nearly 99 percent of votes counted, the same as in 2014.

A German cabinet minister and Italy's would-be prime minister were among those to hail Hungarian premier Viktor Orban's massive election win as a welcome shot across the bows of what they said was an arrogant European Union.

Orban celebrated his party's gains in a speech to his supporters, shortly after the preliminary results were announced. "Of course, we are aware that this is an important topic [migration], but it's quite sad to see that no other issues could enter the agenda in this electoral campaign and it seems to have brought result for the governing party", he said in a live appearance on RT. Jobbik, a nationalist party that is now tacking to the centre, came second with 26 seats, and a Socialist-led coalition finished third, with 20. "Jobbik's goal, to win the elections and force a change in government, was not achieved", Vona said in a news conference.

That seemed to have boosted Fidesz, which won with 48.5 percent compared to 44.9 percent four years ago.

The leading political group in the European Parliament congratulated Hungary's Viktor Orban on his reelection on Monday, but the anti-immigration populist's victory looks set to prolong the fractious relationship between Brussels and Budapest.

Orban's election platform openly demonized migrants and asylum seekers in Europe as a threat to Hungary's security.

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In an interview with the Financial Times in November previous year, Soros accused the Hungarian prime minister of "misleading the population", adding that "it's a tragedy for Hungary that its government seeks to stay in power through hate-mongering". Multiculturalism, he said, "is only an illusion".

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

Since coming to power in 2010, his government has locked horns with the European Commission over reforms that critics say have eroded democratic checks and balances and weakened the independence of the media.

Additionally, populist politicians across the world may adopt the aggressive electoral tactics that Orbán successfully employed (e.g. strong anti-immigrant messaging, demonizing the European Union and Western countries, media distortion). Orban's fans admire the way he waged war on Hungary's constitution to defang the court system and rewrite laws to empower his office and favor his party. He added: "for us migration is not a solution but a problem. not medicine but a poison, we don't need it and won't swallow it". Orban told Bild in early 2016: "If you take masses of non-registered immigrants from the Middle East into your country, you are importing terrorism, crime, antisemitism, and homophobia".

He was re-elected in 2014, again with a super-majority, and Europe's migrant crisis the following year saw Orban morph into a lightning rod for opposition to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's "open-door" refugee policy. "We don't want to go against Europe and the European Union, we want Europe and the European Union to be strong and successful".

French National Front leader Marine Le Pen said Orban's victory was yet another rejection of "the change of values and the mass immigration extolled by the European Union".

On Origo.hu, a formerly independent website now owned by government allies, stories promoted Orban while also focusing on migration. "Parallel societies? Muslim communities living together with the Christian community?"

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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