Hungary’s Eurosceptic PM re-elected for third term

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Budapest, April 9 (IANS) Hungary’s right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a strong Eurosceptic who campaigned on an anti-immigration platform, has claimed a landslide victory in the country’s general elections.

The 54-year-old will serve a third consecutive term in office, with his party Fidesz projected to keep its key two-thirds majority in Parliament, the BBC reported on Monday.

Hungary’s National Election Office said Fidesz won almost half of the vote that was held on Sunday, with 93 per cent of ballots counted. Voter turnout was a near-record 69 per cent, the second highest since 2002, when it was over 70 per cent.

In a speech to supporters on Sunday night, Orban said his victory gave Hungarians “the opportunity to defend themselves and to defend Hungary”.

With almost all votes counted, the nationalist Jobbik party was in second place with 20 per cent of the vote. The Socialists were in third with 12 per cent. The LMP, Hungary’s main Green Party, was in fourth position with 7 per cent.

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Leaders of the second and third-placed parties resigned following the result.

Jobbik’s chairman Gabor Vona said: “Jobbik’s goal, to win the elections and force a change in government, was not achieved. Fidesz won. It won again.”

Socialist Party President Gyula Molnar said: “We regard ourselves as responsible for what happened (and) we have acknowledged the decision of voters.”

Orban’s election campaign was dominated by immigration, with him promising to defend the country’s borders and block migration by Muslims. “Migration is like rust that slowly but surely would consume Hungary,” Orban said at his final rally last week.

In 2015, Hungary built a fence along its borders with Serbia and Croatia to stop illegal migrants.

Also, Orban is an avowed Eurosceptic who opposes further EU integration. He refused to take part in the EU’s refugee resettlement programme and has praised Russian leader Vladimir Putin. He also promised to cut income taxes and pass pro-growth economic policies.

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Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s National Front, congratulated Orban and said the “mass immigration promoted by the EU has been rejected once again”.

–IANS

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