Hungary's Orban retains two-thirds legislative majority
April 15 2018 05:28 PM
Hungarian Prime Minister  Viktor Orban
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban

AFP/Budapest

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban retained his controlling two-thirds majority in parliament following last week's election, a final ballot count revealed on Sunday, giving him free legislative rein for the next four years.
Orban's ruling rightwing Fidesz party was already the clear winner of the election hours after polls closed last Sunday. 
But its two-thirds majority remained in doubt until ballots from abroad -- which could have changed the outcome in several voting districts -- were counted.
In the end, these ballots made little difference, with Fidesz winning 49.6% of votes, far ahead of the nationalist Jobbik party in second with 19.2% and the Socialist-led centre-left alliance with 12.0%, according to the state newswire MTI.
This means Fidesz (along with its junior coalition partner the Christian Democrats) will have 133 seats in the 199-seat parliament. 
That gives it a two-thirds majority that allows it to steamroll legislation through parliament without the need for approval from any other party. 
Jobbik and the Socialist-led alliance will take up 26 and 20 seats respectively.
Another leftist party Democratic Coalition (DK), led by former prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsany, will take up nine seats, while the green party LMP will have eight. 
On Tuesday Orban told foreign reporters that the resounding win showed that voters want to stop liberal US billionaire philanthropist George Soros interfering in the country.
A package of so-called "Stop Soros" bills tightening already strict legislation regulating non-governmental organisations (NGOs) funded by the Hungarian-born 87-year-old will be among the first to pass through the new parliament after it convenes later this month. 
Orban's opponents meanwhile have complained that election rules approved by parliament in 2012 have rigged the system in Fidesz's favour.
Election observers from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said Monday that the ballot was marked by "intimidating and xenophobic rhetoric, media bias and opaque campaign financing".
The OSCE also said it had noticed "a pervasive overlap of state and ruling party resources". 
A series of alleged irregularities at polling stations around the country also prompted several opposition parties to demand the National Elections Office launches a probe for possible fraud, and a possible recount.
An anti-government demonstration drew an estimated 100,000 people in Budapest on Saturday.
Speakers demanded free and fair elections and called another protest for next Saturday.



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