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Despite his loyalty to Putin, Hungarian head of state Viktor Orban is facing re-election

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban last night claimed victory as he was forecast to serve a fourth term, despite being accused of nestling Wladimir Putin.

First figures pointed to the Kremlin-backed Mr. Orban Fidesz party will emerge as the largest, although the outcome is still in doubt.

His re-election is cause for celebration for President Putin, said Hungary’s pro-EU opposition leader.

Volodymyr Zelenskyythe President of Ukraine, had accused Mr Orban of being the “only one in Europe” who publicly backs him Russia and “make no effort to end the war”.

“We didn’t ask for anything special from the official Budapest,” Zelensky said before the vote. “We didn’t even get what everyone else is doing! We saw no effort to stop the war!

“All of Europe is trying to end the war, restore peace. Then why is official Budapest against all of Europe, against all civilized countries? For what?”

He added: “If it’s a war, I call it a war, not ‘special operations.’ If this is a threat to all of Europe, then I call it a threat to all of Europe. That’s called the honesty that Mr Orban lacks. He may have lost it somewhere in his contacts with Moscow.”

Mr Orban, a longtime ally of Mr Putin, has insisted his country will remain neutral and maintain its close economic ties with Moscow.

At his latest campaign rally on Friday, the Hungarian prime minister told supporters that supplying arms to Ukraine would make the country a military target. “This is not our war, we have to stay out of it,” he said.

In a 10-minute speech to Fidesz party officials and supporters last night in Budapest, Mr Orban addressed a crowd who cheered “Viktor!” and declared it was a “huge victory” for his party.

“We have achieved such a great victory that you can see it from the moon and you can certainly see it from Brussels,” said Mr Orban, who has often been condemned by the European Union for democratic backsliding and alleged corruption.

“The whole world saw in Budapest tonight that Christian democratic politics, conservative civic politics and patriotic politics have won. We are telling Europe that this is not the past, this is the future,” Orban said.

While the votes were still being counted, it seemed clear that the question was not whether Mr Orban’s Fidesz party would win the election, but by how much.

With 75 percent of the vote, his Fidesz-led coalition had won 54.5 percent, while a pro-European opposition coalition, United for Hungary, had nearly 34 percent, according to the National Elections Office.

It seemed possible that Fidesz would win another constitutional majority that would enable him to continue transforming the Central European nation in profound ways.

As Fidesz party representatives gathered at an election night event on the Danube River in Budapest, Secretary of State Zoltan Kovacs cited the participation of so many parties in the election as proof of the strength of Hungarian democracy.

“We’ve been hearing a lot of nonsense lately about whether there is democracy in Hungary,” Kovacs said. “Hungarian democracy has not been weakened over the past 12 years, it has been strengthened.”

The competition was expected to be the tightest since Mr Orban took power in 2010 thanks to the fact that Hungary’s six main opposition parties put aside their ideological differences to form a united front against Fidesz.

https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/hungarian-leader-viktor-orban-looks-set-for-re-election-despite-putin-loyalty-41517461.html Despite his loyalty to Putin, Hungarian head of state Viktor Orban is facing re-election

Fry Electronics Team

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