Orban, a Putin Ally, Declares 'Huge Victory'

Prime minister says vote is a message to Europe
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 3, 2022 5:10 PM CDT
Orban Declares Victory, a Win for Putin Also
Opposition leader Peter Marki-Zay, center left, and others vote Sunday in the general election in Hodmezovasarhely, southern Hungary.   (AP Photo/Anna Szilagyi)

(Newser) – Prime Minister Viktor Orban declared victory in Sunday's national elections, claiming a mandate for a fourth term as a partial vote count predicted a strong lead for his right-wing party. In a 10-minute speech to Fidesz party officials and supporters at an election night event in Budapest, Orban addressed a crowd cheering “Viktor!” and declared it was a "huge victory" for his party. "We won a victory so big that you can see it from the moon, and you can certainly see it from Brussels," said Orban, who has often been condemned by the European Union for democratic backsliding and alleged corruption, the AP reports.

"The whole world has seen tonight in Budapest that Christian democratic politics, conservative civic politics, and patriotic politics have won. We are telling Europe that this is not the past, this is the future," Orban said. While votes were still being tallied, it appeared clear that the question was not whether Orban's Fidesz party would take the election, but by how much. With 75% of votes tallied, his coalition had won 54.5%, while a pro-European opposition coalition, United for Hungary, had nearly 34%, according to the National Election Office. It appeared possible that Fidesz would win another constitutional majority, allowing it to keep making deep changes to the Central European nation.

Orban is a longtime ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and was criticized this weekend by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for not taking a stand against Russia's invasion. "He is virtually the only one in Europe to openly support Mr. Putin," Zelensky said. The election was expected to be the closest since Orban took power in 2010, after Hungary's six main opposition parties put aside their ideological differences to form a united front against Fidesz. Voters were electing lawmakers to the country’s 199-seat parliament. In a surprise, radical right-wing party Our Homeland Movement appeared to have garnered more than 6% of the vote, exceeding the 5% threshold needed to gain seats in parliament.

(Read more Viktor Orban stories.)

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