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Hungary sets April 3 election with PM Orban facing united opposition

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By Reuters
Hungary sets April 3 election with PM Orban facing united opposition
Hungary sets April 3 election with PM Orban facing united opposition   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2022

BUDAPEST – Hungarian President Janos Ader has set a parliamentary election for April 3 with a referendum on LGBTQ issues to be held on the same day, the president’s office said on Tuesday.

For the first time since taking power in a 2010 landslide, conservative nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his Fidesz party will face a united front of opposition parties that will make for a close election race.

Voters will decide whether he should continue his policies that prioritise national sovereignty, traditional Christian values and stances against immigration and LGBTQ rights, issues that have soured the Orban government’s relations with European Union headquarters in Brussels.

The opposition alliance includes the Democratic Coalition, the Socialists, liberals and the formerly far-right, now centre-right Jobbik. It is led by Peter Marki-Zay, who in 2018 ended many years of Fidesz rule in the farming town of Hodmezovasarhely where he is now mayor.

Marki-Zay says he has the skills to forge a broad spectrum of voters who are desperate for change but he faces the challenge of holding together his six-party alliance, now running neck-and-neck in opinion polls with Fidesz.

On the day of the election Hungarians will be asked to vote on four government questions regarding LGBTQ issues as Orban is casting himself as the defender of traditional family values as a key part of his campaign.

In the referendum, voters will be asked whether they support the holding of sexual orientation workshops in schools without parental consent, and whether they believe gender reassignment procedures should be “promoted” among children. They will also be asked whether media content that could affect sexual orientation should be shown to children without restrictions.