Published: Mon, April 09, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Turnout high in Hungary's election as Orban fights to retain power

Turnout high in Hungary's election as Orban fights to retain power

With 69.1 percent of the votes counted, the right-wing nationalist Jobbik Party was coming in second with 19.9 percent of the votes and 27 seats.

Hungary's future is at the stake of the general elections, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said here on Sunday as he casted his vote in a polling station early in the morning.

Preliminary results from the National Election Office have Fidesz winning Sunday's parliamentary election with 49.5 percent of the vote.

Hungarian election officials say voter turnout in the country's parliamentary election 90 minutes before polls close has already exceeded the total turnout for the 2014 elections.

The National Election Office initially said it did not intend to disclose any results while voters were still waiting outside polling stations.

The rightwing nationalist prime minister projected himself as a savior of Hungary's Christian culture against Muslim migration into Europe an image which resonated with millions of voters, especially in rural areas.

Opposition parties were keen to make sure Orban's bloc does not obtain a super-majority that would allow the autocratic leader to more easily push through constitutional changes, continue his crackdown on civic groups that he claims work against Hungarian interests and further strengthen his grasp on the highly centralized state power structure.

Heartened by a recent poll showing more Hungarians would prefer for Orban to go than to stay, the opposition has shifted its focus from coordination to get-out-the-vote campaigns.

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

"Voter turnout is at record high", tweeted Tamas Boros, co-director of the Policy Solutions think tank.

As well as hammering home its anti-immigration message, the government has also pointed to Hungary's solid economic growth, which has brought steadily rising wages, and says this would be at risk in the event of an opposition victory.

Voting in Hungary's parliamentary election officially has ended, but numerous polling places are still open to accommodate long lines of people waiting to cast ballots.

"Today will decide whether Hungary becomes an emigrant country or not - and I wouldn't like Hungary to be an emigrant country", Vona said.

Over 3.3 million voters had taken part by 1 p.m. (1100 GMT), for a turnout rate of 42.3 percent six hours before the end of voting.

After casting his vote in a wealthy district of Budapest, he said he would stand up for Hungary's interests and said Hungary was a loyal member of worldwide organizations.

Even if Prime Minister Orbans' Fidesz party does gain its expected majority, analysts remain uncertain on whether it will manage to achieve the two-thirds "supermajority" it had since the previous elections, which enabled it to pass some of its controversial bills.

He says "the European Union is not in Brussels. The European Union does not mean Brussels, it means the European capitals together".

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