Hungary’s Orban Wins “Supermajority” for Another Term

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor OrbanHungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has secured a third successive term in office after his right-wing Fidesz party won by a landslide in parliamentary elections.

With around 93% of the ballots counted, Hungary’s National Election Office said Orban’s ruling administration had secured almost half of the vote on Sunday. The result is projected to keep the Fidesz party in power with a two-thirds majority—a key “supermajority” level which allows constitutional changes, CNBC reported.

The 54-year-old incumbent, who had built a fence on Hungary’s southern border during the 2015 migration crisis, campaigned for reelection on an anti-immigration and protectionist message once again. He has also pledged to cut income taxes and pass pro-economic growth policies.

Speaking to supporters outside the Fidesz election headquarters in Budapest shortly before midnight local time, Orban said citizens of the central European nation had given themselves an “opportunity to defend themselves.”

 Winning Card

The Fidesz party improved significantly on its performance in 2014, gaining a further 5% share in the popular vote this time around. Orban’s campaign was thought to have been aided by an improving economic outlook, his party’s stringent control over state media and deep divisions among opposition parties.

“What we can see is that Viktor Orban won this election due to only one issue, and this is clearly migration,” Andras Biro-Nagy, political analyst at Policy Solutions, a Hungarian think tank, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” Monday.

Biro-Nagy said that as relatively few people had been allowed to immigrate to Hungary in recent decades, the migration issue was an “unknown thing” for a large portion of the electorate.

“For the vast majority of the population, [immigration] is seen as a threat to the cultural identity of the country. This is why economic arguments like potential GDP growth due to immigration simply do not matter,” he added.

Voter turnout had soared to near-record highs of 69%—an outcome which analysts had anticipated could boost the chances of the prime minister’s opponents.

However, with almost all of the ballots counted, the right-wing Jobbik party accrued 20% of the vote. Meanwhile, the Socialist party appeared to finish third with 12% while the LMP—Hungary’s main Green Party—finished fourth with around 7% of the vote.

Leaders of the second and third-placed parties have since announced their resignation.

 A Thorn in Brussels’ Side

Orban, who is already the country’s longest serving-leader since the fall of communism in 1989, has long been a thorn in the side of the European Union with Sunday’s vote likely to mean further clashes between Budapest and Brussels over the next four years.

Hungary’s presidential election had been viewed by some external observers as a test to discover exactly how strong Europe’s populist pulse was beating, especially in the wake of success for anti-establishment parties in Italy last month.

Following Orban’s resounding electoral victory, Policy Solutions’ Biro-Nagy said that a common solution to the ongoing migration crisis would be “unthinkable.”

Meanwhile, far-right parties in other areas of Europe—most notably Poland—would probably be “emboldened” by the outcome.

Shortly after Orban’s Fidesz party claimed victory Sunday, Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s National Front, tweeted her congratulations to Hungary’s premier. “Mass immigration promoted by the EU has been rejected once again,” she said.

After joining the EU in 2004, Budapest has frequently been at loggerheads with Brussels. The former communist state has often been criticized for looking to assert its influence over courts, the media and other independent institutions.

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