Hungary's Orban sweeps to victory as far-right gains

Hungary's Orban sweeps to victory as far-right gains
Viktor Orban gets another term as Hungarian Prime Minister
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban delivers a speech after winning the parliamentary election with members of his FIDESZ party on April 6, 2014 in Budapest.

BUDAPEST - Hungary's pugnacious Prime Minister Viktor Orban savoured Monday a decisive election victory that gives an EU leader accused of undermining democracy four more years in power, while the far-right made further gains.

"We can say with absolute certainty that we won," the right-wing and rabble-rousing Orban, 50, told jubilant, flag-waving supporters in Budapest on Sunday night.

"These elections were free. Organised in a free country."

Final results and the distribution of seats in parliament were still not in, but with some 99 per cent of votes counted Orban's Fidesz party was on 44.5 per cent and the far-right Jobbik on 20.5 per cent.

The rickety opposition alliance of the centre-left led by Attila Mesterhazy was in distant second place with 26.0 per cent, almost 20 percentage points behind Orban's party, the results showed.

If confirmed, this would mean that Fidesz narrowly retained its commanding two-thirds majority in parliament, giving Orban a legislative carte blanche for another four years.

A crestfallen and angry Mesterhazy, 39, said late on Sunday that he accepted the result but that he refused to congratulate his adversary. "Orban has continuously abused his power," he said. "Hungary is not free, it is not a democracy."

"The country has indeed arrived at the gates of a great future," the pro-government daily Magyar Nemzet trumpeted on Monday.

"The political community led by Viktor Orban - whether you like it or not - is now able to defend, fine trim, perfect, complete, nail down, and mend the new economic and social structure put together in the last four years with enormous effort."

Central European University political scientist Zoltan Miklosi said that Fidesz in fact lost 600,000 voters compared to 2010 but that it swept the board thanks to a weak left-wing and because Orban has changed the electoral system.

"They would have won a simple majority under a fairer system but not two-thirds," he told AFP, calling the result a "total disaster" for the left.

Orban put the super-majority of his first term to devastating use with a legislative blitz that opponents say have tightened his control on democratic institutions in the EU member state.

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