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Hungary PM re-elected as party wins sweeping parliamentary majority

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (C) and members of his Fidesz Party celebrate from the podium on the bank of the Danube River after winning the parliamentary election on April 8, 2018 in Budapest. (Photo by AFP)

Hungary’s incumbent Prime Minister Viktor Orban is on track for his third consecutive term in office after his right-wing party secured a sweeping majority in the country’s parliamentary elections.

With 98 percent of votes counted, data published by the National Election Office's shows that Orban’s Fidesz Party won 48.81 percent of the vote and was assessed to win 133 seats -- a tight two-thirds majority -- in the 199-seat parliament.

Voter turnout also reached 69.26 percent.

“We have won, Hungary has won a great victory,” Orban told a large crowd of supporters in Budapest.

Rival political parties in the election, the ultra-right Nationalist Jobbik, the Socialists, the DK and the LMP, were predicted to win 26, 20, 9 and 8 seats, respectively.

Leaders of the second and third-placed parties have resigned in light of the result.

The 54-year-old prime minister projects himself to Hungarians, especially among the rural population, as an adamant nationalist. He has taken a fierce anti-refugee stance against the European Union (EU) and promised to defend Hungary’s traditional values.

“We have won a crucial victory, giving ourself a chance to defend Hungary,” he repeated.

Orban, who in 2016 proposed to construct a giant wall to stop the flow of hapless refugees into Europe, has described refugees as “invaders.”

Critics accuse his administration of corruption and authoritarian measures.

His supporters, however, praise Orban for rejuvenating the economy and stabilizing the national budget deficit after eight years of socialist rule.

This year’s results show a rise in Fidesz Party’s popularity compared to four years ago, lending the premier the public support required for more possible clashes with Brussels over immigration.

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