Last Sunday’s parliamentary election in Hungary was predictably won by Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party, collecting 46 percent of the votes, compared to 24 of the Socialist-led leftist alliance. The ruling party received 134 seats in parliament, with the leftist alliance, the extreme right-wing Jobbik, and the Green Politics Can Be Different parties having to make do with 36, 24 and 5 seats, respectively.
As four years back, Fidesz (Hungarian Civic Alliance) won the constitutional majority, but this time in a 199-rather than 388-seat parliament. Viktor Orban declared that his party had set Europe’s democracy record in the most popular support standing. Most Hungarian voters said no to withdrawal from the European Union. They stressed that Hungary would remain a member of the European community of nations – but only if it had a strong and sovereign government.
While in his previous four-year office, Prime Minister Viktor Orban changed the constitution. The new basic law stresses the role of Christianity, family values, and increases social payments. European experts say his Cabinet is using populist techniques while sacrificing prospects of long-term growth. During the day on Sunday, Hungarian voters were casting their ballots for party lists (93 seats in parliament) and for individual candidates in single-member constituencies (106 seats). Under the new election laws, the Hungarian parliament’s membership will be determined after the first round.
GOVERNMENT DEMONSTRATES UNITY AND CLEAR-CUT ACTION PLAN
Mark SZABO, analyst, Center for East European Policy, Budapest:
“There are many reasons why the Hungarian electorate gave Viktor Orban another four years of premiership. Probably the main one is that his Cabinet has demonstrated unity and produced a clear-cut action plan, what with the opposition betraying weakness and disunity. The leftist coalition was hard to build, it lacked a clear-cut action plan, and there was inner strife. The radical rightists were never actually capable of toppling Fidesz. Summing up, what helped Viktor Orban win another 4-year premiership was his understandable national development program, unity, and a strong message about Hungary. He will shoulder the burden of a single consolidated right-centrist parliamentary democracy. Economic growth, institutional and constitutional consolidation are the biggest challenges to him.
“The relationships between Hungary and the European Union will not change. Hungary will remain a standing EU member, as the newly re-elected prime minister said in his inaugural address. Hungary’s membership also serves the EU’s interests because this country is politically solid, with a government determined to remain a member of the European Union.
“Orban’s attitude to Russia isn’t likely to change, just as he isn’t likely to support the third round of sanctions against Russia. There is a well balanced coordination of efforts on the part of Germany and Hungary, between Berlin and Budapest, between Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister Orban. Hungary will continue to support the EU policy to protect Ukraine’s territorial integrity and defend the rights of the local ethnic Hungarian communities.”