Hungary – Reactions to Orban’s Victory
Winning a two-thirds majority for the third time straight time in Sunday’s election, gives Victor Orban the power to change constitutional laws – potentially paving the way for further friction with the European Union.
Euronews reports that after Hungary’s Sunday night election and the sweeping victory for the ruling Fidesz party, Hungarian’s are saying, the city of Budapest and the countryside are different worlds. Most people living in the capital are in deep shock while residents in rural areas are satisfied with the result. Traditionally, Budapest is the stronghold of the left and that the countryside is more right. But the people in the countryside, with a disappearing infrastructure, are more or less happy with the election outcome.
Reuters reported that Orban’s Fidesz party signalled on Monday it could push on with legislation to crack down on organisations promoting migrant rights as soon as parliament reconvenes after Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s sweeping election victory.
The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe watchdog said parties could not compete on an equal basis in the election, which was held in an adverse climate as freedom of the media and association were restricted.
A spokesman said European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker would write to Orban to congratulate him on his victory and emphasise that defending democracy and values was the common duty of all member states with no exception.
European Council President Donald Tusk said in a statement: “During your renewed term as prime minister I count on you to play a constructive role in maintaining our unity in the EU.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated Orban, a German government spokesman said, adding she would work with his new government despite differences on migration.
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen was the first to congratulate Orban. Poland’s deputy foreign minister and envoy to the EU, Konrad Szymanski, hailed his victory as “a confirmation of Central Europe’s emancipation policy”. Emancipation, he added, is not directed at fighting anybody but at making Central Europe visible as a very constructive European and European Union partner.
Before the election, Hungary had already signalled it would be looking to expand co-operation on migrant policy with neighbouring Austria, the only country in Western Europe with a far-right group in government, as well as Italy, where the centre-left Democratic Party lost to anti-establishment and right-wing parties that campaigned hard against immigration.
“Orban is implementing sustainable and correct policies for the people of his country … Hungary’s voters have rewarded that once again,” Austrian Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, leader of the far-right Freedom Party, said.
According to preliminary results with 99 percent of votes counted, National Election Office data showed Fidesz winning 134 seats, a two-thirds majority in the 199-seat parliament. Nationalist Jobbik won 25, while the Socialists were projected in third with 20 lawmakers, among the remaining seats.
Peter Rona, a Hungary-born economics professor at Oxford university was quoted by the Financial Times, saying that Orban’s massive victory means that Europe will now have an entirely legitimate bastion of rightwing dictatorship, also known as illiberal democracy. He added that the yearning for security has trumped the need for liberty, and the loss of EU credibility will have reached an important point.
Sources : EuroNews, Reuters, Financial Times