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3 Apr, 2022 20:48

Orban declares victory in Hungarian election

Incumbent’s party leads vote despite opposition uniting to unseat him
Orban declares victory in Hungarian election

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban has declared himself the winner of Sunday’s elections in Hungary as his conservative Fidesz-KDNP party holds on to a comfortable lead amid the vote-counting. As of 9pm local time, the party is ahead with 59.99% of the votes, with 23.03% of party-list ballots counted.

Despite the six leading opposition parties uniting to try to knock out Orban’s government under its banner, United for Hungary has only 28.89% of the vote thus far, with right-wing nationalist party Our Home (Mi Hazánk) trailing in third at 6.58%.

Pollsters Medián had forecast a 49% win for Fidesz to 41% for United for Hungary, with Our Home expected to tie with joke party Hungarian Two-Tailed Dog Party (MKKP) for third place, with 4.5% of the vote. Budapest Business Journal has explained Fidesz’s lead may shrink as many urban districts around the capital have not yet reported their results, while all votes from the rural areas, home to Orban’s most enthusiastic supporters, are more likely to have been counted.

While United for Hungary attempted to smear Orban as a ‘Russian puppet' in the days leading up to the vote, the Hungarian leader’s refusal to completely cut off relations with Moscow has been seen by supporters as pragmatic, given the European nation gets most of its energy from Russia and has no alternative sources available to meet all its fuel needs in the event of an embargo.

This isn’t our war, we have to stay out of it,” the premier said during a campaign rally on Friday, shutting down critics by pointing out that Ukrainian President “Zelensky is not voting today” nor is Russian President Vladimir “Putin…running in the Hungarian elections.”

Sunday’s election saw 67.8% of eligible voters casting ballots as of 6:30pm local time, with polls open until 7pm. Nearly a thousand election observers have been registered to watch the vote, and no anomalies have been reported since polling centers opened.

Also under consideration in Sunday’s vote was a referendum on child protection issues, which Orban’s government hopes will result in a mandate to shield underage children from being taught about sexual orientation, shown sexually explicit media, or exposed to supportive portrayals of gender reassignment therapy. The United for Hungary opposition called on its supporters to attempt to invalidate the referendum by marking both “yes” and “no” for the referendum’s questions.