Hungary

Polls open in Hungary, right-wing expected to win

Reuters

Hungarians went to the polls Sunday to elect a new parliament. Opinion polls predict the right-wing opposition Fidesz party will win by a wide majority, with the far-right Jobbik party expected to enter parliament with between 13 and 20 per cent of the votes.

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After eight years of Socialist rule, the opposition Fidesz party is expected to win a large number of the 386 seats in parliament, though polls have also been predicting a low turnout.

The latest opinion poll forecast a massive 62 per cent win for Fidesz’s candidate, former Prime Minister Viktor Orban, followed by the Socialists with 20 per cent and 13 per cent for the far-right Jobbik. The poll was published Friday by the daily Nepszabadsag newspaper.

Earlier polls had predicted Jobbik would come in second. The party was created in 2003, and it is known for its anti-Semitic, anti-foreigner rhetoric, especially against the Roma.

Jobbik won almost 15 per cent of votes in last year’s European elections, and if successful in the general elections, it will be the will be the first time it wins seats in parliament.

Hungary was one of the worst hit countries by the global economic crisis in 2008, and it avoided bankruptcy only by receiving a 20 billion euro bailout from the IMF, World Bank and the European Union.

The country has been slowly recovering, but the Socialist government’s austerity measures, tax increases and salary and pension cuts have made it very unpopular.

Orban, who served as Prime Minister from 1998 to 2002, has promised tax cuts, and the creation of a million jobs over ten years.

Some 8.3 million people are eligible to vote. Polls close at 7pm, and the first results will be available two hours later. The second round of voting is scheduled for 25 April.

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