Incumbent Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been re-elected following Hungary’s general election.
Orban’s Fidesz party secured its fourth consecutive victory on April 3 by a larger margin than previously predicted — securing 53% of the national vote.
“We have won a great victory — a victory so great you can perhaps see it from the moon and certainly from Brussels,” Orban said in his victory address to a crowd of supporters on the Danube river in Budapest.
“The whole world has seen tonight in Budapest that Christian democratic politics, conservative civic politics and patriotic politics have won,” the 58-year-old said. “We are telling Europe that this is not the past, this is the future, our common European future.”
Orban, who is known for his nationalist stance, is the longest-serving head of government in the European Union. He has been criticized for his support of laws restricting the depiction of LGBTQ relationships and issues in broadcasts viewed by minors. Critics have also taken issue with Orban’s opposition to immigration.
Additionally, Orban has been Hungary’s longest-serving leader since the collapse of the Communist Party in 1989.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described Orban as “out of touch with the rest of Europe” because of his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who he has not denounced for invading Ukraine as have other European leaders, per AP News.
The two nations have close economic ties as the roughly 85% of Hungary’s gas and 64% of its oil come from Russia. Additionally, Hungary was the first nation in the EU to buy Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine.
Following the outbreak of the Russian-Ukraine conflict, Orban’s government supported the sanctions levied against Moscow but also opted not to send weapons to Kyiv. The nation has generally opted to stay out of the conflict.
In the lead-up to the election, six opposition parties united together despite ideological differences in hopes of ousting Orban. This effort proved ineffective as the coalition, named United for Hungary, was only able to secure 35% of the vote.
Peter Marki-Zay, the leader of United for Hungary, conceded the election after Orban addressed his supporters.
“We knew in advance that it would be an extremely unequal fight,” Marki-Zay said. “We do not dispute that Fidesz won this election. That this election was democratic and free is, of course, something we continue to dispute.”
“I will not hide my sadness and my disappointment,” he said to his gathered supporter on April 3.
“For the first time, more than 200 international observers monitored the election in Hungary, an EU member, along with thousands of domestic volunteers from both camps,” reports CBS News.
In addition to re-electing Orban, Hungarians elected 135 Fidesz members to their 199-member Parliament. The opposition coalition controls 57 seats.