Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban called on Hungarians to vote Sunday morning, saying they were electing their ‘future,’ as polls opened for parliamentary elections.
Orban is seeking a third consecutive - and fourth overall - term, campaigning on a platform of fierce opposition to non-Christian immigration and demands for a European Union with boundaries tightly sealed against refugees and migrants.
‘We're electing not just parties, not just a government, not just a prime minister, but a future for ourselves,’ Orban told reporters after voting just after 7:30 am local time (0530 GMT) in Budapest's 12th district.
‘This is a serious country, a big country, this is a country that, when needed, always stood up for itself, so we can trust the people - I will accept their decision.’ After a campaign that heavily criticized ‘Brussels,’ he said it was a ‘misunderstanding’ that the European Union was the enemy.
‘[The] EU is not in Brussels - the EU is in Berlin, in Budapest, in Warsaw, in Prague, in Bucharest,’ he said. ‘The European Union does not mean Brussels - it means the national capitals together.’ Voter turnout at 9 am local time was at 13 per cent, according to the National Election Office.
Voters will elect 199 lawmakers - 106 directly from electoral districts and 93 from national party lists.
Orban's Fidesz party, with its Christian Democratic People's Party (KDNP) allies, controlled 133 seats in the outgoing parliament.
The main opposition rivals, the Socialist Party (MSZP), had 29.
Orban has been in power since 2010. He also governed from 1998-2002. Between 2011 and 2013, he reformed the electoral law, tailoring it to suit the dominant party - his Fidesz.
Orban is supported by state-owned media as well as by private outlets of his allies.
Fragmentation of the opposition parties has further boosted his chances of reclaiming a massive majority.
The Republikon Institute has forecast that Fidesz will win 41 per cent of votes, far ahead of the far-right Jobbik party, with 21 per cent, and the MSZP, with 19 per cent.
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