Sunday, 22 April, 2018

Hungary's Fidesz unlikely to win two-thirds majority -lawmaker

04_06_two-tailed dog Godfather of European Populism Faces Judgment in Hungarian Vote
Glenn Montgomery | 09 April, 2018, 01:12

Mr Orban, Hungary's longest-serving post-communist prime minister, strongly opposes deeper integration of the bloc.

Heartened by a recent poll showing more Hungarians would prefer for Orban to go than to stay, the opposition has shifted its focus from coordination to get-out-the-vote campaigns.

However, his message struck a chord with some voters, such as pensioner Ilona Gubacsi, who said she hoped the result would mean "no migrants coming to Hungary and for things to remain as they are".

He was at Friday's rally here with his friends, proudly sporting a banner for Fidesz, Orban's right-wing party.

"Today will decide whether Hungary becomes an emigrant country or not - and I wouldn't like Hungary to be an emigrant country", Vona said. "I think this is outside the category of reality".

Orban has vowed to continue fighting against the European Union quota on refugees, a plan meant to relocate asylum seekers across Europe. Orban's critics said his stance has fueled xenophobia in Hungary.

To them, Orban is more in line with Russia's Vladimir Putin than he is with the continental cohorts of Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron.

The government has been accused by critics of using anti-Semitic stereotypes in its relentless campaign against Soros, who is Jewish.

Orban claims the opposition - collaborating with the United Nations, the European Union and wealthy philanthropist George Soros - wants to turn Hungary into an "immigrant country", threatening its security and Christian identity.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Fidesz party is expected to win the majority of the 199 parliamentary seats, with Vona's Jobbik and a left-wing alliance of the Socialist Party and the Dialogue party led by Gergely Karacsony considered the leading challengers.

Senior EPP leaders have themselves courted controversy by wishing Orban luck ahead of the poll.

On a visit to Budapest on Friday, April 6, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of Poland's governing PiS party, also gave Orban his endorsement.

Mr Orban has far-right admirers across Europe who like his tough line on migrants.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's ruling Fidesz party has pointed to the high turnout as a sign that Hungarian democracy is healthy, but the increased turnout could give Orbán something to worry about: numerous voters waiting in line in Budapest were young, and young, city-dwelling Hungarians do not tend to support the prime minister.

At a local mayoral by-election in February, Fidesz suffered a shock defeat after the opposition threw its weight behind a single candidate, prompting a surge in turnout.

The strategy that worked - opposition parties joining forces - has failed to materialize before the national vote. It has been campaigning on an anti-corruption agenda and urged higher wages to lure back hundreds of thousands of Hungarians who have left Hungary for western Europe.

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