Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban has hailed a “great victory” for his Fidesz party after preliminary results showed the right-wing group winning Sunday’s general election by a landslide.
The win – Fidesz’s fourth consecutive election victory – was by a much greater margin than polls had suggested, after a campaign overshadowed by the war in neighbouring Ukraine.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine had forced Orban into awkward manoeuvring to explain decade-old cosy business relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. But the 58-year-old mounted a successful campaign to persuade his Fidesz party’s core electorate that the six-party opposition alliance that is promising to mend ties with the European Union could lead the country into war, an accusation the opposition denied.
Addressing a jubilant crowd chanting his name in Budapest, Orban said Sunday’s victory came against all odds.
“We have scored a victory so big, that it can be seen even from the Moon,” he said. “We have defended Hungary’s sovereignty and freedom.”
Preliminary results with about 98 percent of national party list votes counted showed Orban’s Fidesz party leading with 53.1 percent of votes versus 35 percent for Peter Marki-Zay’s opposition alliance.
Fidesz was also winning 88 of 106 single-member constituencies.
Based on preliminary results, the National Election Office said Fidesz would have 135 seats, a two-thirds majority, and the opposition alliance would have 56 seats.
A far-right party called Our Homeland would also make it into parliament, winning seven seats.
Fidesz’s comfortable victory could embolden Orban in his policy agenda which critics say amounts to a subversion of democratic norms, media freedom and the rights of minorities, particularly gay and lesbian people.