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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban tipped for re-election

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban tipped for re-election
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Hungarians took to the polling booths on Sunday in parliamentary elections which look set to hand incumbent Prime Minister Viktor Orban another four year term.

He leads the conservative Fidesz party and has faced criticism from the EU and foreign investors over his staunch defence of the national interest.

But his policies have helped stabilise public finances and cut utility bills for many ordinary Hungarians, endearing him to the electorate. He’s promised to stay on track if re-elected, but there are fears this could hamper Hungary’s business competitiveness.

Critics also accuse Orban of clamping down on checks and balances as well as the media.

Opinion polls show his Fidesz party is on course for a landslide victory.

Attila Mesterhazy is one of the opposition candidates from the leftist coalition. A week before the vote, polls gave the Socialist party Chairman a score of 20 percent.

Worryingly for many, he’s being pushed hard by Gabor Vona, leader of the far-right Jobbik Party, which opinion polls show at 14 percent. This would be a good result for the party, which many accuse of anti-Semiism and inciting hostility towards the country’s Roma minority.

Beating the Socialists would see Jobbik positioned as Hungary’s second biggest political force.

Another question is whether Orban can retain his two-thirds majority in parliament if he wins, which allows him to change the constitution.

Sunday’s election will feature a first-past-the-post single round in 106 constituencies, unlike the two rounds four years ago.

The number of lawmakers in parliament has also been cut from 386 to 199.