Hungary | Viktor Orban’s power reinforced by a landslide victory

(Budapest) Hungarian nationalist leader Viktor Orban, strong on Sunday with a fourth victory in a row even larger than in previous legislative elections, could accentuate his authoritarian turn of the screw while remaining in a conflict mode with Brussels.

Updated yesterday at 11:37 am

Pierre MURPHY
France Media Agency

In the shadow of the neighboring war in Ukraine, which has strengthened the base of a prime minister who wants to guarantee stability, the ruling Fidesz party won more than 53% of the vote (135 seats) after the counting of 99% of the ballots, against less than 35% (56 seats) for the opposition, according to the National Electoral Office.

This success, moreover in the face of a united political front, will “instill enormous confidence” in the 58-year-old dean of the leaders in office in the European Union (EU), believes Patrik Szicherle, of the think tank Political Capital , questioned Monday by AFP.

“Now there is no need for Fidesz to deviate from its line,” he continues. His undeniable advance in the polls shows “a huge demand in Hungary for the illiberal and autocratic policy” of Mr. Orban, who has profoundly transformed his country in twelve years.

“We did not expect to win so widely,” reacted to AFP MEP Balazs Hidveghi, close to Mr. Orban, while the majority retained two-thirds of the seats in Parliament.

-Congratulations from Putin

On the international level, Viktor Orban appears confirmed in his policy of rapprochement with the East.

He did not suffer from his links with the Kremlin or from his desire to stay out of the conflict in Ukraine, to which he refused to deliver arms. Sunday evening, he boasted that “even President” Volodymyr Zelensky, who had called on him to choose his side, could not prevent his re-election.

The icon of the hard rights has also received the congratulations of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who expressed the hope of a strengthening of bilateral ties.

He was also congratulated by far-right French figure Marine Le Pen and another controversial leader, Slovenian Janez Jansa.

No comment, however, from the European Commission, while in his victory speech, Viktor Orban did not fail to attack the “Brussels bureaucrats”.

“We will continue to strengthen our identity, to defend our interests, particularly in Brussels,” said the Fidesz MEP.

“The confrontation with the EU is etched in the party’s strategy, at least on a rhetorical level, and that is not going to go away,” analyzes Mr Szicherle. However, he noted, Hungary will need European funds given the rapid economic deterioration in Europe.

Opposite, the opposition led by Peter Marki-Zay, an independent conservative mayor, suffered the shock.

This heterogeneous cooperation of six formations “proved ineffective: the parties were reluctant to accept that an outsider wins the primaries, which paralyzed the campaign”, underlines the expert.

If they have promised to stay together, some have already “thrown the blame” on their leader.

“Imaginary Reality”

On the side of NGOs, concern dominated. “It’s a disaster for democracy,” lamented Marta Pardavi, of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee. “The level of misinformation is very concerning.”

Amnesty International fears “a further weakening of human rights”, according to its director in Budapest David Vig, who has already learned of “ten people” from his entourage preparing to leave Hungary.

The ballot was held for the first time under the supervision of more than 300 international observers, who judged the ballot “tainted by the absence of fair rules”. They deplored “media bias” and “opaque campaign funding.”

“I think I no longer live in a democratic state”, had denounced the famous Hungarian comedian Robert Alföldi before the election, anticipating a re-election of Viktor Orban.

“Our capacities for action are becoming very narrow. The facts have disappeared, we live in an imaginary reality, the one our prime minister wants,” he told AFP. “We are witnessing the slow disappearance of a civilized democracy”.

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