Voter Turnout For Hungary's Parliamentary Election Hit A Record High

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban attends the last campaign event of his Fidesz party in the town of Szekesfehervar

Voter Turnout For Hungary's Parliamentary Election Hit A Record High

HUNGARIAN prime minister Viktor Orbán was heading for a third consecutive term last night - and fourth overall - in national elections. The right-wing nationalist Jobbik party placed second with 26 seats, while a Socialist-led, left-wing coalition ran third with 20.

Voters were not allowed to join queues at polling stations after 1700 GMT, but some polling stations stayed open to allow those already in line to cast their ballots.

Preliminary results are expected one or two hours after voting ends.

This is the two-thirds control of the 199-seat legislature that allowed Fidesz to pass controversial laws putting pressure on the judiciary and the press.

Voter turnout for Hungary's parliamentary election hit a record high Sunday, according to the Hungarian Free Press.

A high turnout in a 2002 vote consigned Orban to eight years of opposition.

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What are Viktor Orban's policies?

Speaking at a recent campaign rally, Orban accused the European Union of "trying to take away our country".

Critics say Orban has put Hungary on an increasingly authoritarian path and his stance on immigration has fuelled xenophobia. In response, Hungary built a fence along its border with Serbia and Croatia to keep them out. Since then his government has enacted a series of laws to control migration, and his tough measures have been sharply criticised by the United Nations.

An Orban victory will also provide a fillip for other nationalist politicians and those on the far-right who look to him as an inspiration.

If Orban wins again, he is expected to continue his economic policies, with income tax cuts and incentives to boost growth.

His administration has presided over strong economic growth which, he says, would be threatened under the opposition.

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A strong showing for Orban will be welcomed by admirers on the far-right in Europe, such as France's Marine Le Pen, and beyond.

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

The centre-left Socialists meanwhile were on 14% in Friday's poll and not thought to pose a threat to Fidesz.

However, his message struck a chord with some voters, such as pensioner Ilona Gubacsi, who said she hoped the result would mean "no migrants coming to Hungary and for things to remain as they are". It had been considered a Fidesz stronghold.

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

Senior EPP leaders have themselves courted controversy by wishing Orban luck ahead of the poll.

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