Prime Minister Viktor Orbán cruised to a commanding fourth consecutive win in national elections held Sunday in Hungary, cementing the hold of his right-wing Fidesz party in parliament despite earlier predictions of a tight race.
Fidesz will hold 135 seats in the 199-seat parliament, giving the party and Orbán a two-thirds super-majority in the body, The Associated Press reports.
“We won a victory so big that you can see it from the moon, and you can certainly see it from Brussels,” Orbán told cheering supporters Sunday evening in a slap to the EU. He also credited his party’s right-wing ideology for the win. “The whole world has seen tonight in Budapest that Christian democratic politics, conservative civic politics, and patriotic politics have won. We are telling Europe that this is not the past. This is the future.”
The nature of the win was so complete that opposition leader Peter Marki-Zay trailed Fidesz incumbent Janos Lazar by over 12 percentage points in his own home district.
“We never thought this would be the result,” Marki-Zay said. “We knew in advance that it would be an extremely unequal fight. We do not dispute that Fidesz won this election. That this election was democratic and free is, of course, something we continue to dispute.”
Edit Zgut, a political scientist from the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, agreed with Marki-Zay, telling the AP it might not be possible to have free and fair elections in Hungary.
“Hungary seems to have reached a point of no return,” Zgut said, adding the “playing field is tilted so much” that replacing Fidesz might no longer be possible.
Orbán's victory was not a clean sweep, though, as his referendum on LGBTQ+ rights failed to gain enough votes to become valid and binding. Voters were asked four questions relating to the discussion of sexuality and gender identity with minor children. Opposition leaders had asked voters to spoil their ballots to prevent exceeding the 50 percent threshold needed to validate the measure.
While the news was encouraging, the vote was largely symbolic. Similar laws are already on the books in the country. Last year, the Hungarian Parliament by a vote of 157-1 passed legislation that banned sharing content with minors that portrayed LGBTQ+ people.