Viktor Orban declares his victory in the elections

(CNN Spanish) – Hungary’s authoritarian leader and longtime ally of Russia, Viktor Orban, has declared victory in the country’s parliamentary elections, securing a fourth consecutive term in power.

Orban’s Fidesz party had a advantage significant with 71% of the votes counted, Hungary’s national electoral board said Sunday night.

The election campaign was dominated by Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, calling into question Orban’s longstanding relationship with President Vladimir Putin.

In his victory speech, Orban said that Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky was one of the “opponents” he had to defeat during the campaign.

Hungary is heavily dependent on Russian energy and Orban has shunned opportunities to condemn Putin’s assault on his neighboring state, complicating the European Union’s efforts to present a united front against him.

Although opinion polls predicted a closer race, the Fidesz party won comfortably in much of the country. The leader of the opposition, Peter Marki-Zay, did not even win his own district, where he had been mayor.

“We have such a big victory that maybe you can see it from the moon, but for sure you can see it from Brussels,” Orban said in a victory speech on Sunday night, alluding to his government’s longstanding tensions with leaders. from the EU.

“We will remember this victory until the end of our lives because we had to fight a lot of opponents,” Orban said, citing a number of his political enemies, including the Hungarian left, “bureaucrats” in Brussels, the international media, “and the Ukrainian president too: we never had so many opponents at the same time.”

The president has achieved tight control over Hungary’s judiciary, media and educational institutions during his 12 years in power, which will now last until 2026. He has pushed for laws against immigrants and the LGBTQ+ community, and has spoken of his intention to build an “illiberal” state within the EU.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Orban has campaigned primarily on the platform of keeping Hungary’s troops and weapons out of the conflict. He has supported most EU sanctions against Russia since it invaded Ukraine, but has resisted going any further, casting himself as a peacemaker to voters.

On Wednesday, its foreign minister accused Ukraine’s government of coordinating with Hungary’s opposition parties, citing no evidence.

Even before the invasion, Orban had a thorny relationship with the EU. His government has been criticized by high-ranking figures in the bloc for rule of law issues; Earlier this year Europe’s highest court allowed the EU to block funding to Hungary and Poland for violating democratic rights.

A referendum was also held on Sunday on a controversial Orban law that bans educational materials and programs for children that are seen as promoting homosexuality and gender reassignment.

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