Published: Wed, April 11, 2018

PM Viktor Orban, East Europe's right-wing icon, becomes Hungary elections again

PM Viktor Orban, East Europe's right-wing icon, becomes Hungary elections again

Before the election, Hungary had also signaled its desire to expand co-operation on migrant policy with neighboring Austria that has a far-right group in government, and Italy where right-wing parties won after campaigning against immigration.

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.

This has lead to Orban becoming one of the most divisive leaders in Europe, criticized by people like United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, who accused him of being a racist and xenophobe. He has brought sweeping reforms in the country in the past few years that have earned him ill names and positioned him at odds with the European Union. For example, check out how the New York Times described it.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's ruling Fidesz party was re-elected this evening for a third successive term with a strong mandate, with preliminary results showing Fidesz gaining a two-thirds majority in parliament.

With 74.6 percent of votes counted, National Election Office data projected Fidesz winning 134 seats in the 199-seat parliament.

"Dear friends, there's a big battle behind us, we secured a historic victory-we got a chance, we created a chance for us to defend Hungary", Prime Minister Orban told his supporters on Sunday night. 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".

The Guardian quickly declared that this election was a major blow to the European Union and spelled trouble for their long-term agenda.

"Our country has not yet reached where it wants to be, but it is on its chosen path".

The European commission, however, does not see a systemic problem.

Orban's practices will seem tempting for all European Union wannabe autocrats, mostly coming from right-wing populist circles like those in Poland or in Austria, where the Freedom Party, which governs in a coalition with the Christian Democrats, openly admires Orban's politics. Before Sunday's resounding win, some EPP members were hopeful Orbán would change. "I think he will moderate and become more reasonable".

With a message that he stands for all Hungarians against foreign meddling, Orban tapped into feelings shared by many Hungarians who perceive threats to their national identity and feel they are treated as second-class citizens in the EU. Hungary plunged to 71st place on the World Press Freedom Index a year ago, from 23rd when the prime minister returned to power in 2010.

Stier also confirmed that there's now "a demand for the rightist rhetoric in Hungary" that can be explained by the fact that "the left, the liberals almost destroyed the country in the 2000s".

In an editorial in the weekly Heti Valasz before the vote, editor-in-chief Borokai cited Orban's recent track record in a decades-long list of political disappointments, saying the key question of the election was whether it would produce any change.

As hundreds of thousands of people streamed through Hungary bound for western Europe, and with Budapest train stations resembling squalid refugee camps, Orban erected a fence on Hungary's border with Serbia.

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