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Hungary's election could produce record turnout -ruling party

09 April, 2018, 01:00 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • Hungary's Orban tipped for re-election but upset not ruled out

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

On a visit to Budapest on Friday, April 6, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of Poland's governing PiS party, also gave Orban his endorsement. While some parties have agreed to withdraw candidates to avoid knocking each other out in key, winner-take-all battleground districts, the array of Fidesz opponents, which include a former far-right outfit, socialists and greens, are mostly fighting their own corners. "But the people living there did not have the opportunity to vote on admitting migrants, however the people of Hungary have already voiced their opinion on the matter during the course of the National Consultation". Preliminary results are expected in the evening before midnight. This in turn will lead Viktor Orban to the third term as prime minister.

Polls predicted the triumph of Orban's Fidesz party and its allied Christian Democratic People's Party (KDNP).

Analysts, however, were more cautious about the significance of the turnout.

"Only a dramatic outcome of the election would force a significant shift in the direction of policymaking", Barclays said in a note.

Opposition parties have urged Hungarians to vote tactically for the opposition candidate with the best chance to defeat the Fidesz candidate in the 106 individual districts - but it is not clear how much impact that will have.

But in one student neighbourhood in the capital, where long queues saw voters waiting up to an hour to cast their votes, the mood was predominantly anti-Fidesz.

According to Orban and his ministers, Hungary will descend into chaos should it become an "immigrant country" like France or Belgium.

In Hodmezovasarhely, a Fidesz stronghold in southeastern Hungary, voters complaining of graft, cronyism, and intimidation elected an independent in a February mayoral election for the first time in two decades.

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

Data at 16:30 GMT from the National Election Office showed voter turnout of 68% - around nine points higher than at the same point in the 2014 election. That was the highest turnout figure at that time since at least 1998. 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".

In the past few years, Vona, who has been party chairman since 2006, has pushed the party to abandon its frequently anti-Roma and anti-Semitic views and toward more a mainstream conservative direction.

Analysts say a high turnout favors the opposition, especially Jobbik.

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