Hungary’s centre-right leader Viktor Orban and his Fidesz party have claimed an expected victory in the country’s parliamentary elections.
Opinion polls before the ballot had pointed to a Fidesz win, with voters putting their faith in Orban’s pledge to restore the economy after a period of near financial collapse.
The result puts Fidesz within touching distance of the two-thirds of seats it needs to push through vital reforms. The incumbent Socialists were ousted into a distant second with the far-right Jobbik party winning their first ever seats in parliament.
Defeated Socialist candidate Attila Mesterhazy acknowledged his party’s poor showing while vowing to make sure they would be formidable in opposition.
Jobbik’s twenty-six seats were a cause of celebration for their supporters. With the country’s economy contracting and unemployment rising, the far-right appears to have capitalised on growing social tensions.
Although the outcome of Sunday’s poll is clear, there will be a second round on April 25 in constituencies where elected candidates failed to win a convincing majority.
Fidesz, which last ruled between 1998 and 2002, will then set to work. Top of its list is to keep its promise to create a million jobs in ten years.