The Stream

What’s next for Hungary after Fidesz’s resounding election win?

Ruling party stands on brink of attaining supermajority as opposition remains in wilderness.

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his Fidesz party have won a commanding third consecutive term in office after opposition parties failed to convince voters in parliamentary elections on Sunday.

Fidesz has dominated Hungarian politics since it won the 2010 national elections by a landslide. Orban’s campaign largely focused on a populist rejection of immigration – the Hungarian government has long refused to honour European Union refugee quotas aimed at bringing relief to people fleeing war-torn regions in North Africa and the Middle East. Fidesz now stands on the verge of holding a supermajority in parliament, which would grant the party an opportunity to plan changes to the constitution.

While Fidesz has widespread support at home, the EU and the United Nations have been critical of Orban’s government. In turn, Orban made his dislike of those international bodies a key part of his appeal to voters. George Soros, an American-Hungarian billionaire financier and philanthropist, is also a target of Orban’s ire. Orban claims that Soros’ Open Society Foundations are a political tool aimed at undermining the fabric of the Hungarian state, and that Soros wants to bring millions of migrants into Europe.

In February, opposition parties dared to dream that support for Fidesz was beginning to wane after a novice independent backed by the opposition defeated a Fidesz candidate in a local government by-election in Hodmezovasarhely. Sunday’s sobering result instead prompted the leaders of the Socialist party to resign en masse. Meanwhile the far-right Jobbik party took far fewer seats than it hoped, having complained throughout the campaign that Fidesz’s continued shift to the hard right had eroded Jobbik’s base of support.

As Fidesz savours victory, The Stream will digest the result and consider the direction Hungary is headed.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:

Lili Bayer @liliebayer
Journalist, POLITICO EU

Szabolcs Vörös @szabolcs_voros 
Journalist, Heti Valasz 

Gabor Toka
Professor of Political Science, Central European University

Read more:

An economic miracle in Hungary, or just a mirage? – New York Times
Trading places on the Hungarian right – Politico

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