Ultra-Orthodox Viktor Orban won elections in Hungary for the fourth time in a row – the fifth of his career – this Sunday. The opposition, which had jointly joined as a faction for the Hungarian Coalition as the only way to oust Orbán, eventually crashed into reality. “Dear friends, we have achieved a big victory. So large that it can be seen from the Moon, even from Brussels,” Orban declared.
The prime minister’s victory reinforces the liberal regime that has been built over the past 12 years on a deeply nationalist and Christian view of the motherland. The war in Ukraine went through an electoral campaign, but in the end it could not make an impact on one of the most staunch allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin in the European Union.
At around ten o’clock in the night, the tall-faced opposition already conceded their defeat at its headquarters at the Vrosliget ice rink in Budapest, where the prime ministerial candidate Peter Markey-Jay was to appear. Orban’s party received 54% of the votes in the national lists, which are shared by 93 deputies, and won 88 of the 106 seats distributed in direct mandates from each constituency.
A resounding victory that shows that in Orban’s case, power does not weaken him. Compared to the 2018 elections, mobilization fell by two points, with a participation of 68%. Our country also enters parliament, a far-right force with former members of Jobbik, the party that turned from the extreme right to the centre.
Orban has emerged stronger from these elections in front of his country and in front of the European Union. In search of models for building a liberal state, the prime minister decided to look to the east, particularly Russia and China, rather than the west. The support of his voters, even in a particularly volatile situation with the war on the other side of the border, legitimizes his trajectory at home. Now you have to consider whether you want to rebuild the trust of your partners in the EU and in your neighbourhood, with the Visegrad Group (V4).
It remains to be seen whether the economic situation, coupled with skyrocketing inflation, may force Orban to seek a deal with the union to obtain recovery funds, which have been caused by problems such as corruption and the state’s decline. The European Commission has yet to move. Correct. In the final phase of the campaign, he wrote to Brussels requesting him, including a loan he had previously denied, arguing that he needed them to deal with the large influx of refugees, though arriving in Hungary. Most of the people passing by.
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According to a study by the think tank Policy Solutions, the biggest concern of citizens in Hungary is the cost of living. According to Reuters, inflation is at its highest level in 15 years, with consumer confidence falling 8.3% in February and 11 points in March. Orban announced a spending package ahead of the election, which sought to reduce the loss of purchasing power. Among other measures, the government refunded practically all 2021 taxes to families with children and additional wages to pensioners. In addition, it set price limits on basic foodstuffs and gasoline, and increased those already existing on household energy bills.
The nearly 5,000 million euros invested just before the elections have also contributed to the deficit skyrocketing. With war-ravaged growth, some economists believe that the government’s fiscal plans are no longer realistic and will have to make adjustments.
relations with the Kremlin
Fidesz voters have not punished Orbán’s ties with the Kremlin. Maria Szabo, a 72-year-old retiree, sadly recalled the Communist era when she went out to vote at a school on the hill of Roses in Budapest. As the party has reiterated during the campaign, Szabo stated internally that the opposition intended to return Hungary in those years. “Orban’s relations with Russia are only for gas, but he has criticized Putin and says he does not want to engage in war,” he defended.
However, outside its borders, Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has further isolated Orban in the European Union. Although he voted in favor of the first four rounds of sanctions, he refused to send weapons or weapons from other countries through his territory. His position, which is seen as friendly to Putin in Warsaw, has cost him distance, at least temporarily, from Poland, his great ally in the disputes against Brussels, and from the rest of V4, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. .
Orban has clashed with Brussels on issues such as the rule of law, the treatment of migrants, the rights of asylum seekers, civil society and the LGTBI collective – a referendum this Sunday also sought to legalize a law that would Prohibits homosexual content in – . But, according to results known this Sunday, Orban has managed to retain the support of his voters. “It is disgusting how EU chiefs attack him,” protested retired Szabo.
OSCE and Vox Observers in a Polarized Country
On the Pest bank of the Danube, neither snow nor cold this Sunday morning prevented high participation at the Hermann Otto school in Budapest’s old neighborhood of Jewish intellectuals. The center was buzzing with voters, most of whom were in opposition. Observers from the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE), which has a mission of more than 300 people to check the cleanliness of elections, also passed. They almost crossed paths with an international counter-mission led by the ultra-Orthodox Poles of Ordo Iuris. Vox’s spokesman in the Murcia assembly Juan José Liarte Pedreno and parliamentary group coordinator lvaro Barrocal were in charge of the pass. From what he had seen and heard, he claimed that he had no irregularities.
Hungary is deeply polarized. Opposition voters see the country and its democratic institutions as an omen. “What is happening here is morally unfair,” said Blanca Kovar, a math student who had just won the right to vote. Programmer Gabor Balint, 34, considers Hungary’s position “a matter of shame” in relation to “war, the collapse of the rule of law and the enrichment of friends of the government with public money”.
Some voices in the opposition coalition predict that the process of blaming for the defeat will begin soon. It seems complicated how different parties as Jobbic, formerly the Social Democrats of the Extreme Right, DK or Greens and Liberals, manage to work together over the next four years. He looked closely at the possibility of change, but everything indicates that Hungary has decided that everything will remain the same.