cloudy.png
Thursday August 18th, 2022 4:10PM

Hungary's PM Orban leads in early partial vote count

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Early partial results in Hungary’s national election on Sunday showed a strong lead for the right-wing party of pro-Putin nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban as he seeks a fourth consecutive term.

But many of the early votes came from the countryside, where Orban enjoys strong popularity and it was not clear if the strong advantage would hold. With 23% of votes tallied, Orban’s Fidesz-led coalition had won 60% of the vote while a pro-European opposition coalition, United for Hungary, had 29%.

The contest was expected to be the closest since Orban took power in 2010, thanks to Hungary’s six main opposition parties putting aside their ideological differences to form a united front against Fidesz. Voters were electing lawmakers to the country’s 199-seat parliament.

Opposition parties and international observers have noted structural impediments to defeating Orban, highlighting pervasive pro-government bias in the public media, the domination of commercial news outlets by Orban allies and a heavily gerrymandered electoral map.

The opposition coalition’s candidate for prime minister, Peter Marki-Zay, wrote on his social media page to thank all Hungarians who cast a vote and the more than 20,000 volunteer ballot counters who opposition parties assigned to polling places across the country.

“I express my gratitude to the civilians who spent the whole day checking the cleanliness of the election and are now starting the count,” Marki-Zay wrote.

The Organization For Security and Cooperation in Europe sent a full observation mission to Hungary to monitor Sunday's election, only the second time it has done so in a European Union country.

The six-party opposition coalition, United For Hungary, asked voters to support a new political culture based on pluralistic governance and mended alliances with the country's European Union and NATO allies.

While Orban had earlier campaigned on divisive social and cultural issues, he dramatically shifted the tone of his campaign after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, and has portrayed the election since then as a choice between peace and stability or war and chaos.

While the opposition called for Hungary to support its embattled neighbor and act in lockstep with its EU and NATO partners, Orban, a longtime ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has insisted that Hungary remain neutral and maintain its close economic ties with Moscow, including continuing to import Russian gas and oil on favorable terms.

At his final campaign rally Friday, Orban claimed that supplying Ukraine with weapons — something that Hungary, alone among Ukraine’s EU neighbors, has refused to do — would make the country a military target, and that sanctioning Russian energy imports would cripple Hungary's own economy.

“This isn’t our war, we have to stay out of it,” Orban said.

The president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, on Saturday depicted the Hungarian leader as out of touch with the rest of Europe, which has united to condemn Putin, support sanctions against Russia and send aid including weapons to Ukraine.

“He is virtually the only one in Europe to openly support Mr. Putin,” Zelenskyy said.

Marki-Zay, the opposition candidate, has promised to end to what he alleges is rampant government corruption and raise living standards by increasing funding to Hungary's ailing health care and education systems. After voting in his hometown of Hodmezovasarhely, where he serves as mayor, Marki-Zay called Sunday's election an “uphill battle” due to Fidesz's superior economic resources and advantage in the media.

“We are fighting for decency, we are fighting for the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law in Hungary,” Marki-Zay said. “We want to show that this model that Orban has ... introduced here in Hungary is not acceptable for any decent, honest man.”

Orban — a fierce critic of immigration, LGBTQ rights and “EU bureaucrats" — has garnered the admiration of right-wing nationalists across Europe and North America. He has taken many of Hungary’s democratic institutions under his control and depicted himself as a defender of European Christendom against Muslim migrants, progressives and the “LGBTQ lobby.”

Along with the election to parliament, a referendum on LGBTQ issues was being held Sunday. The questions pertained to sex education programs in schools and the availability to children of information about sex reassignment.

Gabor Somogyi, a 58-year-old marketing professional, said after voting that he believes Hungary’s media favors Orban and Fidesz and has made the election unfair.

“I really count on the monitoring,” he said. “But I don’t really believe (the election) will be clean enough. Even the campaign was not clean enough.”

Peter Sandor, 78, said after voting on Sunday that it was important that Orban keep upholding Christian conservatism in Hungary.

“The importance of this election is to continue with what we have been building up for the last 12 years. Fantastic results," he said. "If Fidesz doesn’t win, it’s going to go down the drain again like it did between 2002 and 2010.”

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top General short headlines
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
California mass shooting: 6 dead, 12 injured in Sacramento
Police in California are searching for at least one suspect in connection with a mass shooting in downtown Sacramento that killed six people and left 12 injured
3:40PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Hungary's PM Orban leads in early partial vote count
Early partial results in Hungary’s national election are showing a strong lead for the right-wing party of pro-Putin nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban as he seeks a fourth consecutive term
3:35PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Live updates | Ukraine: 410 civilian bodies found near Kyiv
Ukraine’s prosecutor-general says the bodies of 410 civilians have been removed from Kyiv-area towns that were recently retaken from Russian forces
3:26PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Hungarians vote on giving pro-Putin PM Orban a 4th term
Polls have closed in Hungary’s national election in which pro-Putin nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban sought a fourth consecutive term
1:24PM ( 2 hours ago )
Jordan prince drops title in protest over how country is run
An outspoken half-brother of Jordan’s king relinquished his princely title in apparent protest
12:33PM ( 3 hours ago )
Man in Germany gets 90 COVID-19 shots to sell forged passes
A 60-year-old man allegedly had himself vaccinated against COVID-19 dozens of times in Germany in order to sell forged vaccination cards with real vaccine batch numbers to people not wanting to get vaccinated themselves
12:26PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP National News
Russia war could further escalate auto prices and shortages
Russia’s devastating war on Ukraine is bringing a whole set of new problems to the global auto industry, just as it was starting to recover from the pandemic and computer chip shortages
10:31AM ( 5 hours ago )
Ukraine documents alleged atrocities by retreating Russians
Ukrainian troops are finding brutalized bodies and widespread destruction in the suburbs of Kyiv, sparking new calls for a war crimes investigation and sanctions against Russia
10:14AM ( 5 hours ago )
A comeback unlike any other? Tiger arrives at the Masters
Tiger Woods is on his way to Augusta National
10:07AM ( 5 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
California mass shooting: 6 dead, 12 injured in Sacramento
Police in California are searching for at least one suspect in connection with a mass shooting in downtown Sacramento that killed six people and left 12 injured
3:40PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Live updates | Ukraine: 410 civilian bodies found near Kyiv
Ukraine’s prosecutor-general says the bodies of 410 civilians have been removed from Kyiv-area towns that were recently retaken from Russian forces
3:26PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Vamos, Carlos: Alcaraz gives Spain a Miami Open men's winner
Spanish fans brought plenty of their nation’s flags to Hard Rock Stadium, thrusting them into the air whenever things were going well for Carlos Alcaraz
3:13PM ( 32 minutes ago )
Live updates | Resident: Motyzhyn mayor killed by Russians
A resident says the mayor of the Ukrainian town of Motyzhyn was killed in an execution-style slaying together with her husband and her son
2:55PM ( 50 minutes ago )
Airlines cancel more than 3,300 US flights over weekend
Airlines have canceled more than 3,300 U.S. flights this weekend and delayed thousands more, citing bad weather in Florida and other issues
2:43PM ( 1 hour ago )