Hungarian Prime Minister Expected to Win Third Successive Term

Hungary's Orban tipped for re-election but upset not ruled out

Hungary's Orban tipped for re-election but upset not ruled out

Voters in Hungary are going to the polls in a general election on Sunday.

Winning another two-thirds majority would give Orban the chance to boost a new class of politically-connected oligarchs, tighten his grip on institutions such as the courts, and strengthen resistance against countries like France and Germany that are seeking to deepen European Union integration.

Voters will weigh Orban's popular anti-immigration stance and an economic upswing against an authoritarian tilt that's made him the black sheep of the European Union and a role model for anti-establishment parties from Italy to Poland.

In all, 199 seats in parliament are up for grabs. Such an outcome would allow Orbán to pursue radical change, perhaps tightening his grip Hungary in the same vein as Poland.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his wife Aniko Levai vote at a polling station located in a school in Budapest on April 8, 2018.

"As long as the opposition is in a fragmented state. this migrant/refugee campaign is sufficient to keep (Orban's) voting base united, to keep it mobilized", said Balazs Bocskei, political analyst at the Idea Institute, a Budapest think-tank.

Mr Orban has campaigned heavily on his unyielding anti-migration policies, though voters claim they are more concerned with poverty, government corruption and the country's underfunded health care system.

The election produced a turnout of around 70 percent, exceeding the past three elections.

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The anti-immigrant campaign has gone down well with around two million core voters of Fidesz.

Turnout will be a key factor in determining the result, with higher participation thought to benefit the opposition.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has cast his vote in the parliamentary election, saying the ballot is about "Hungary's future". He refused to take part in the EU's refugee resettlement programme and he has praised Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

"Unfortunately, for those on the right who are disappointed with Orban, there is no democratic conservative alternative like Germany's CDU or a French Macron-type party", said Paul Lendvai, a journalist and author of "Orban: Hungary's Strongman".

Clad in a green jacket and white shirt, Jobbik leader Gabor Vona, 39, arrived to vote in the eastern city of Gyongyos, his home town and the district where he is likely to win a seat.

A high turnout in a 2002 vote consigned Orban to eight years of opposition.

Asked whether he was fighting the EU he said: "The EU is not in Brussels".

Opposition parties have urged Hungarians to vote tactically for the opposition candidate with the best chance to defeat the Fidesz candidate in the 106 individual districts - but it is not clear how much impact that will have. The EU is in Berlin, in Budapest, in Warsaw, in Prague and in Bucharest.

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