Hungary to release first preliminary election results at 1930 GMT
09 April, 2018, 01:46 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
Hungary's parliamentary election on Sunday could produce the highest turnout on record, ruling Fidesz party parliamentary group leader Gergely Gulyas said, adding that it would give strong legitimacy to the next parliament.
The National Election Office initially said it did not intend to disclose any results while voters were still waiting outside polling stations.
Voters were no longer allowed to join queues at polling stations from 1700 GMT, but those already in line were being allowed to cast their ballots, meaning voting could continue for hours more at the busiest stations.
"We love our country and we are fighting for our country", Orban said.
Some 8.3 million Hungarians are eligible to vote, with preliminary results expected Sunday night.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is seeking a fourth term on a platform that openly demonizes migrants to Europe.
His main challengers are Gergely Karacsony, the candidate of the Socialist and Dialogue parties, and Gabor Vona from the nationalist Jobbik party.
"Theoretically everything is still possible as we don't know the data yet. but in Hungary a two-thirds victory is possible if neither side loses more than 10 districts and there is a difference of at least 20 percent between the victor and the runner-up", Gulyas said.
Orban claims that the opposition - collaborating with the United Nations, the European Union and wealthy philanthropist George Soros - wants to turn Hungary into an "immigrant country", threatening its security and Christian identity.
Hungary's complex electoral system makes the outcome of the election hard to predict, though pollsters agree that Orban's Fidesz party, along with its allied Christian Democratic People's Party (KDNP), will likely triumph over a splintered opposition.
"Only a dramatic outcome of the election would force a significant shift in the direction of policymaking", Barclays said in a note. Voter turnout was estimated between 64 and 68 percent. "Safety is first", said Julia Scharle, 27, holding her child outside the voting district where Orban cast his vote.
On Origo.hu, a formerly independent website now owned by government allies, stories promoted Orban while also focusing on migration, The headlines included "Migrant gangs fought in England", "They can't stand it anymore in Sweden: They've had enough of migrants", and "A migrant in underpants beat a German retiree half to death".
Experts say the large turnout in Hungary's parliamentary election could "dramatically change" the country's politics.
Attention is focused on how much support the opposition bloc can win.
Uncertainties about Mr Orban's margin of victory are caused by Hungary's electoral system in which voters cast two ballots, one for an individual candidate in their region and another for a party list.
Most of the 199 parliamentary seats, 106, will be decided in voting districts, while 93 will be distributed based on party lists.
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