Hungary: two-thirds majority for Orbán again

In the Hungarian parliamentary elections, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's Fidesz party, which has been in power since 2010, has once again won a two-thirds majority. The broad opposition alliance behind opposition candidate Péter Márki-Zay was unable to achieve a breakthrough. Commentators assess the outcome in a European context.

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Denník N (SK) /

Dealings with Budapest remain complicated

Hungary will continue to move away from democracy, Denník N fears:

“From now on there is no argument for maintaining privileged relations with Hungary within the Visegrád states, apart from on basic matters necessary for peaceful coexistence. The same applies for the European Union. Just as European politicians overlooked Putin for years, thus allowing the war in Ukraine to happen, they have also tolerated Orbán. But even if we now have the courage to cut off his European funding, which is his only motivation for staying in the Union, he has enormous potential for blackmail and veto rights for example on sanctions against the Kremlin.”

De Morgen (BE) /

Isolate Hungary

Viktor Orbán's election victory is sobering for the EU, De Morgen writes:

“The war in Ukraine teaches European politicians that they should not be naive when it comes to defending our shared democratic values. Viktor Orbán is using European money to undermine the European Union. We are not obliged to look on silently as Orbán diverts EU funds into the pockets of his friends and confidants. The European sanctions mechanism against Hungary can be further tightened. This is possible above all because Poland is adopting a totally different stance, one of solidarity with beleaguered Ukraine. ... That opens up the opportunity to help Poland and isolate the Hungarian regime within the EU.”

Mediapart (FR) /

New perspectives for the Orbán - Vučić duo

Victor Orbán and Aleksandar Vučić will move closer together following their election victories in Hungary and Serbia respectively, Balkan experts Simon Rico and Jean-Arnault Dérens write in Mediapart:

“This rapprochement is based on mutual interest: Belgrade can count on the goodwill of the EU Commissioner for Enlargement, the Hungarian Olivér Várhelyi, and shares with Budapest the same firm stance on migration along the 'Balkan route'. For Victor Orbán, moving the EU's external border beyond neighbouring Serbia would would allow Hungary to regain its role as a central European crossroads, as in the days of the Habsburg monarchy. Especially since the ultra-conservative leader needs regional allies to counterbalance his relative isolation in Europe.”

Telex (HU) /

A vote in times of uncertainty

People voted for a stability that will now be difficult to maintain, Telex concludes:

“The opposition's disappointment is justified: it failed to attract voters from the [ruling party] Fidesz ... At best it can be happy that this way it has escaped the tasks of a particularly difficult period of government. While in the past the extremely favourable economic circumstances were helpful for the government, the situation has become much more difficult since 2020. ... Perhaps at this critical time voters had more confidence in continuity and in Orbán, who conveyed more sober and favourable messages.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Electoral law made victory virtually impossible

Too many Hungarians believe the prime minister's lies, La Repubblica complains:

“Even Ukrainian President Zelensky's last direct appeal to Hungarians to overturn 'the only one who supports Putin' fell on deaf ears. Many Hungarians seem to have succumbed to the prime minister's false propaganda accusing the opposition of wanting to drag Hungary into war. But the defeat of the alliance led by Péter Márki-Zay can also be explained by an electoral law that makes it almost impossible to beat Orbán. To win a majority of seats, the opposition would have had to secure five to six percentage points more than Fidesz.”

Magyar Hang (HU) /

Lack of strategy

Not only was this an unfair competition, the opposition also lacked a proper strategy, comments journalist Szabolcs Szerető in Magyar Hang:

“No matter how great the preponderance of the governing party is in terms of resources and influence in the media, that alone does not explain the crushing defeat of the united opposition. Despite all the [ruling] party's hideous actions, one cannot claim that Fidesz's power is not legitimate. ... Without a think tank that can reflect strategically and anticipate the steps its opponents will take, no political force has any chance of success.”

Sme (SK) /

Autocrats rubbing their hands in glee

Sme regrets the election outcome:

“Orbán spoke of a danger, but he wasn't referring to Putin and his war crimes. On the very day of the election he was still trying to scare the voters, saying that if the opposition won it would drag Hungary into a war that was none of the Hungarians' business. ... Half of Hungary, which only consumes Orbán's propaganda, is now celebrating. The other half feels like it's in exile. ... Orbán's victory could inflate the hopes of potential autocrats who don't share power, who corrupt, bend the law and see free media as nothing but an annoying redundancy, a luxury of democracy. We must oppose this with our 'no'.” (PL) /

Poland's opposition will draw conclusions

The pro-government news website wPolityce believes Hungary will rethink its foreign policy:

“Of course one has to ask whether the newly formed Hungarian government will correct its foreign policy after the election. This seems very likely. ... For Poland, Prime Minister Orbán's success also means that Warsaw can continue to count on Budapest in the struggle for sovereignty within the EU - and vice versa. The war has somewhat overshadowed these issues, but certainly not for long. ... The Polish opposition will also carefully analyse the Hungarian experience in 2022. If the concept of uniting all anti-government forces failed on the Danube, it is hard to believe that it will succeed on the Vistula.”