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Polls open in Hungarian election as Orban seeks another term

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By Rhal Ssan
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Hungary's nationalist prime minister, Viktor Orban, center, and his wife Aniko Levai, left, cast their vote for general election in Budapest, Hungary, Sunday, April 3, 2022.
Hungary's nationalist prime minister, Viktor Orban, center, and his wife Aniko Levai, left, cast their vote for general election in Budapest, Hungary, Sunday, April 3, 2022.   -   Copyright  Petr David Josek/AP Photo

Polls have opened across Hungary with voters set to decide the makeup of a new parliament.

Incumbent Prime Minister Viktor Orban is hoping for a fourth consecutive term in office, in what has been billed as his tightest race so far.

His Fidesz party is facing a disparate six-party coalition, headed by Peter Marki-Zay. He has criticised Orban heavily in light of the war in Ukraine for being too close to Russian President, Vladimir Putin. Marki-Zay has been vocal in calling for Hungary to join other European nations in offering military assistance to Kyiv.

While Orban has signed up to the EU’s plan to allow Ukrainian refugees to stay in the bloc for up to three years, he has been against sending direct material support for the war.

After voting himself, Orban framed the contest as a battle to keep Hungary out of the war, saying “We see our rivals as dangerous, we asked everybody to vote for the party that can guarantee peace and security.”

The opposition has also criticised the government’s control of most of Hungarian media, leading to what it calls an uneven playing field. Orban has insisted that elections in Hungary are free and fair.