Voting underway in Hungarian election

09 April, 2018, 01:44 | Author: Angel Logan
  • Hungary election: Viktor Orban's Fidesz party hopes for third straight term

Hungary's National Election Office expects to start publishing preliminary results of Sunday's parliamentary election at around 1930 GMT, said its head, Ilona Palffy.

Voter turnout was estimated between 64 and 68 percent.

Voting officially closed at 1700 GMT.

He has campaigned heavily on his unyielding anti-migration policies, although voters say they are more concerned with poverty, government corruption and the country's underfunded health care system.

Predictions on whether Orban's message resonated with voters were complicated by the exceptionally high turnout, last-minute deals between some of left-wing opposition parties and a complex electoral system that allows citizens to cast two votes.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Fidesz Party is enjoying wide support with its anti-immigration policy.

"We are celebrating democracy and it seems like this feast will be handsome because many of us are taking part", said Gergely Karacsony, the leading candidate of the left-wing Socialist and Dialogue parties.

"High turnout means, most probably, less mandates for Fidesz than in the previous term", said Peter Kreko, director of think tank Political Capital.

Asked about relations between Hungary and the EU, Orban said, "We are a loyal member of the United Nations and all global organizations".

While Fidesz led all opinion polls before the vote, there is a small chance that the fragmented opposition could strip Fidesz of its parliamentary majority if voters frustrated with Orban's policies choose tactical voting in the 106 constituencies. The opposition Socialist Party urged authorities to "at least distribute water" in districts where voters were waiting in line for hours. "Alongside high voter turnout, the country will have a strong, legitimate parliament".

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.

On Origo.hu, a formerly independent website now owned by government allies, stories promoted Orban while also focusing on migration with headlines like "Migrant gangs fought in England", "They can't stand it anymore in Sweden: They've had enough of migrants", and "A migrant in underpants beat a German retiree half to death".

Clad in a green jacket and white shirt, Jobbik leader Gabor Vona, 39, arrived to vote in the eastern city of Gyongyos, his home town and the district where he is likely to win a seat.

Orban accuses Mr Soros and the organisations he funds of promoting mass Muslim and African immigration into Europe in order to undermine its Christian identity.

Experts say the large turnout in Hungary's parliamentary election could "dramatically change" the country's politics.

Orban told reporters after casting his ballot that he is fighting for the future of his beloved country. Another 93 seats will be distributed based on votes for entire party lists.

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