Orban's Victory Hailed in Some Unlikely Places as Warning for EU

Orban's Victory Hailed in Some Unlikely Places as Warning for EU

A former Hungarian government ally-turned-opposition supporter shut down most of his news empire, in a sign that Prime Minister Viktor Orban's overwhelming election victory may further weaken independent media.

Gyongyosi acknowledged that it would be "tough" to counter the Fidesz party's two-thirds majority in parliament, adding that "we have experienced that already twice in a row - in 2010-2014 and since 2014 - but I think we have to bring back common sense to the political arena in Hungary and we have to do what an opposition has to do".

"The election in my view also. decided that the Hungarian government must stand up for a Europe of nations and not for a "United States of Europe", said Orban, an opponent of deeper integration within the European Union. "Migration is like rust that slowly but surely would consume Hungary", Orban said at his final rally last week.

After the Fidesz party secured a strong majority in the country's parliament in Sunday's elections, there have been reports that the new government could adopt a legislation to ban migration-friendly, non-governmental organizations on Hungarian soil.

The proposed legislation, dubbed "Stop Soros" by the government before the vote, is part of Orban's strident anti-immigration campaign targeting Hungarian born US financier George Soros, whose philanthropy aims to bolster liberal and open-border values.

One non-governmental organisation described the prospect of the bill as "terrifyingly serious".

Last month, Orban told state radio that the government had information on activists being paid by Soros.

Hungary is proof that euroskeptic nationalism and populism is alive and kicking in the European Union, in spite of some who thought otherwise after Emmanuel Macron's victory past year in France. Orban campaigned on a promise of a legislative package dubbed "stop Soros", in reference to the Hungarian-born USA financier, that was laced with numerous thinly-veiled references to Soros' Jewish heritage.

Soros has commented that the Hungarian government was pushing "distortions and lies" in an effort to create a scapegoat for their own political ends.

Initial results of the April 8 parliamentary elections show his nationalist right-wing Fidesz party receiving two-thirds of the 199-seat parliament, meaning it has the powers to change constitutional laws.

The right-wing nationalist Jobbik party placed second with 26 seats, while a Socialist-led, left-wing coalition came in third with 20 seats.

The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, which runs a voting rights program to train citizens to be active in the interest of clean elections, said it envisioned becoming a target of government "legislative and communications attacks".

Asked about the Stop Soros plan, Kovacs warned that organisations meddling with politics will have to be shut down.

"What they are doing with the rule of law, with democratic institutions, they're taking everything away from the people, " said Frazsina Nagy, 28, a lawyer in Budapest, after she cast her ballot.

Orban is a strong Eurosceptic who campaigned on an anti-immigration platform.

The OSCE had said that "xenophobic rhetoric" and "media bias" in the campaign impaired voters' ability to make a "fully informed choice".

Orban's government has already attracted controversy for what critics call its erosion of media and judicial independence, as well as its crackdown on civil society organisations, in particular those linked to liberal Hungarian-born U.S. billionaire George Soros.



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