Orban tipped to win third term in Hungary

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Anti-immigration Hungarian PM Viktor Orban is expected to be returned to office.Hungary’s Viktor Orban, a hardliner on immigration in Europe, has pledged to fight for his country after casting his vote in an election that is expected to give him a third straight term in office.
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After an acrimonious campaign in which Orban projected himself as a saviour of Hungary’s Christian culture against Muslim migration into Europe, all opinion polls put his Fidesz party well ahead.

A strong victory could embolden him to put more muscle into a Central European alliance against the European Union’s migration policies. Orban, Hungary’s longest-serving post-communist premier, opposes deeper integration of the bloc.

He has far-right admirers across Europe who like his tough line on migrants, while critics say he has put Hungary on an increasingly authoritarian path.

A landslide win would make Orban feel vindicated in his decision to run a single-issue campaign, arguing migration poses a security threat. His critics said his stance has fuelled xenophobia.

After casting his vote in a wealthy district of Budapest, Orban said: “From here I will go and take part in mobilising voters … I am asking everyone to take part in the election.”

Asked by journalists if he was fighting the European Union, Orban said: “The EU is not in Brussels. The EU is in Berlin, in Budapest, in Prague and in Bucharest.”

He reiterated he would stand up for Hungary’s interests and said Hungary was a loyal member of international organisations.

“We love our country and we are fighting for our country.”

A strong win for Orban would also boost other right-wing nationalists in Central Europe, in Poland and in neighbouring Austria, and expose cracks in the 28-nation EU.

While Fidesz led all opinion polls before the vote, there is a small chance that the fragmented opposition could strip Fidesz of its parliament majority if voters frustrated with Orban’s policies choose tactical voting in the 106 constituencies.

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