Hungarian elections indicate European populists are on ascending course

  • Mihai Turcanu
  • 11.4.2018 15:56

Viktor Orban will serve a third consecutive term as Hungary's prime minister after the ruling Fidesz alliance secured 133 out of the 199 legislative seats in the 8 April parliamentary elections. The once-radical Jobbik party, revamped on a moderate nationalist platform will seat 26 lawmakers, while the Socialists came third with projected 20 seats.

Despite enjoying credit for Hungary's economic progress, including strong GDP growth, bigger wages, and low unemployment, Orban chose to make migration the central theme of his campaign. He depicted himself as standing for a besiege Hungary, whose identity was threatened by non-European mass migration. The approach has paid off, and the unusually high turnout (68,8%) cements Orban's position both domestically - Fidesz retaining the two-thirds super-majority which allows for constitutional changes, but also internationally as the Premier stands opposed to a number of EU policies. In the coming years, conflicts between EU and Hungary will be mounting over issues such as European funds, migration and internationally-financed NGOs. Orban's victory, especially when correlated with recent elections result in Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, but also, to some extent, Italy and Germany, showcases the immense political growth European populists have registered in the last years in their quest to present themselves as a viable political alternative to traditional establishment parties. 

About author: Mihai Turcanu

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