Tuesday, 23 October, 2018

Viktor Orban predicted to win third term in Hungary elections

Prime Minister Viktor Orban at his final electoral rally in Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban at his final electoral rally in Hungary Credit Darko Vojinovic AP
Cary Erickson | 09 April, 2018, 00:47

Gabor Vona is the opposition leader seeking to capture the protest vote against Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, an Euronews report has said.

The last major rallies have been held in Hungary before Sunday's election. The Socialists came in third with 14 percent.

Parliamentary faction leader Gergely Gulyas said Sunday after polls closed that Hungary would have a "strong, legitimate parliament".

Voter turnout was estimated between 64 and 68 percent. Preliminary results are expected in the evening before midnight.

Opinion polls have consistently put Mr Orban and his right-wing Fidesz party 20 or more points clear of their nearest rivals, Jobbik, a far-right party which has been moving towards the centre, and the centre-left Socialists. But the high turnout and Hungary's complex voting system complicated more exact predictions.

Some experts say there is no alternative to Orban for Hungary's conservative voters. In 2014, the participation rate at the end of the day was 61.24 percent.

Some pollsters said voter turnout above 70 percent could signal that the opposition was mobilising supporters efficiently, and might even deprive Fidesz of its parliamentary majority.

Long lines could be seen outside several voting stations in Budapest, the capital city.

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The anti-immigrant campaign has gone down well with around two million core voters of Fidesz.

Boros said in a tweet: "The Hungarian political landscape will dramatically change today".

Orban is seeking his third consecutive term and fourth overall and his campaign has been almost exclusively about opposing migration. "I voted for Fidesz and I am asking everyone to take part in the election", Orban told a group of dozens of journalists. However, local media broadcast images of voters still queuing up to cast their ballots at a number of polling stations.

Vona said: "I feel a surprise and a Jobbik breakthrough can be expected in the election".

Turnout will be a key factor in determining the result, with higher participation thought to benefit the opposition.

If Orban wins again, he is expected to continue his economic policies, with income tax cuts and incentives to boost growth. In Hungary's complex electoral system, voters cast two ballots - one for a candidate in their voting district and another for a party list.

Orban and his wife voted early in the morning at a school in the leafy Zugliget suburb of Budapest. He claims that domestic and European Union funds meant for Hungarian families or the country's 800,000-strong Roma minority will be diverted to migrants, whose presence will weaken Hungary's security and increase its terror risk.