Ruling party poised to win Hungary poll

Exit polls show PM Viktor Orban's Fidesz secures wide lead over the opposition alliance, winning 48 percent of ballots.

Last updated: 06 Apr 2014 19:11
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Critics have expressed concerns about checks and balances on key democratic institutions in Hungary [AFP]

Hungary's strongman Prime Minister Viktor Orban is set to stay in power for another four years as exit polls have given his party a wide lead over the opposition in parliamentary elections.

The ruling Fidesz party won 48 percent of the vote on Sunday, well ahead the Socialist-led opposition alliance on 27 percent and the far-right Jobbik on 18 percent, the polls showed.

It was unclear, however, whether this would be enough for the right-wing Orban, 50, to retain his two-thirds majority in parliament.

Official results are due later on Sunday.

Orban has pledged to stick to his policies if reelected, continuing to cut energy prices and getting rid of foreign currency mortgages that are burdening households. Foreign banks fear this could inflict further losses.

The party has pledged to create jobs, be tough on crime, renegotiate state debt and hold a referendum on EU membership.

Tight grip on power

Orban has made the most of the super-majority he won in 2010, with a legislative onslaught shaking up the media, the judiciary and the central bank.

Critics, including Brussels and Washington, have expressed concerns about vital checks and balances on key democratic institutions in the EU member state.

The fate of the media has sparked particular alarm, with state outlets merged into one tame entity and independent publications starved of advertising. All are under the close eye of a new watchdog run by Orban lieutenants.

"The Internet is where you go to find out what is really happening in Hungary," Aranka Szavuly, a freelance journalist fired from state media in 2011, told AFP news agency.

Many of these reforms have been written into a new constitution, meaning that even if the opposition were to win, it would need a two-thirds majority to change them.


Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.