Major Hungarian Opposition Newspaper to Close After Orban Victory

Ignacio Smith
April 12, 2018

After a campaign centred on resistance to immigration and trumpeting a strong economy, near-complete results showed that Mr. Orban's Fidesz party snapped up nearly half the vote (48.8%).

Commenting on the elections, monitors of Europe's security organization OSCE said voters had a wide range of political options, "but intimidating and xenophobic rhetoric, media bias and opaque campaign financing constricted the space for genuine political debate".

Global observers on Monday raised concerns about Hungary's general election, saying cooperation between Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's party and state institutions made it hard for opponents of the prime minister to compete with him on a level playing field.

Orban is fervently anti-migration and based his re-election campaign on the demonization of the mainly Muslim migrants coming to Europe.

Beatrix von Storch from the Alternative for Germany (AfD) said it was a "bad day for the European Union and a good one for Europe".

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European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker will write to Mr. Orban to congratulate him on his "clear victory", a spokesperson said.

Mr Orban is also committed to introducing a controversial set of bills, the so-called "Stop Soros Act", which his Fidesz party introduced prior to the election. It would force them to get government permits, their income received from overseas would be taxed and they could be banned from going nearer than eight kilometres from Hungary's borders, where asylum-seekers file claims.

The father-of-five learned from a rocky first term as prime minister from 1998-2002. "Now that he sees Orban with another two-thirds majority, it was no longer worth his while".

It drives home Orban's unbridled anti-immigrant campaign message, which has made him a role model for anti-establishment parties challenging the EU's democratic values from Poland to France.

Non-governmental organisations, particularly those funded by Soros - who helped get Fidesz off the ground - have found life particularly hard, and on Monday were bracing for even tougher times.

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"We will not continue governing, but a new government will be formed instead", said Orban, who won a third consecutive term - and fourth overall - in Sunday's parliamentary election.

"I don't expect that this will be an easy two years to come, and I believe that the government will do everything in their power to minimize our impact", said HCLU executive director Stefania Kapronczay.

And the Prime Minister confirmed his anti-immigration stance during the run up to the election, stating: "We will never allow Hungary to become a target country for immigrants. Hungary's voters have rewarded that once again", Austrian Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, leader of the far-right Freedom Party, said.

"Business is good, I have contacts everywhere and I don't care about civil rights", construction supplies merchant Janos Kevei, 41, told AFP.

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