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Fidesz wins, may retain two-thirds majority

April 8th, 2014

Commentators across the political spectrum agree that the left has been shattered and will need to completely reinvent itself after another huge defeat. Conservative columnists maintain that the overwhelming support legitimizes all the reforms and policies introduced by the Orbán government in the past four years.

According to the preliminary election results, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party won the elections and may secure a two-thirds majority for another four years. With 99 percent of the votes counted, Fidesz (44,5 %) is forecasted to win 133 out of 199 seats in Parliament. which is exactly the number needed for the absolute majority. The left-wing electoral alliance (26 %) is estimated to have 38, the far-right Jobbik (20,5 %) 23, and LMP (Politics Can Be Different 5,3 %) 5 seats.  In two of the Budapest single-member districts, however, Fidesz candidates only lead by 22 and 253 votes respectively. In these districts, votes submitted by absentee voters temporarily away (voting either abroad at embassies or in other constituencies within the country) may change the final results. These votes will be counted by Friday this week.

The left needs to reinvent itself, János Dési writes in Népszava. The left-wing columnist contends that the new electoral rules introduced by the Fidesz government helped the incumbent to stay in power. Despite what Dési deems unfair rules, supporters of the left could have voted PM Orbán out of office, had they taken part in sufficient numbers. The fact that the left has failed to connect with voters sends the clear message that it will have to rebrand itself, Dési suggests. He recalls that Orbán used the 8 years between 2002 and 2010 to build a strong hinterland for his party while in opposition, which four years ago helped him back to power.

Népszabadság in a front page editorial notes that the results are a huge blow for the left-wing parties. The past four years were not enough for the left to offer Hungarians a clear and attractive alternative to Fidesz, the leading left-wing daily remarks. After the election, the left will have to come up with new ideas to restore its image.

The landslide victory of Fidesz confers the next Orbán government a very strong legitimacy, Ferenc Sinkovics maintains in Magyar Hírlap. The conservative commentator points out that after the overwhelming support Fidesz received from voters, the left can no longer question the legitimacy of the election. Sinkovics reads the results as proof that Hungarians have had enough of the left, and do not want to see them back in government.

Magyar Nemzet’s Szabolcs Szerető interprets the vote as an expression by the electorate of its intention to give PM Orbán another four years to complete his project. After a term marked by the complete and hasty overhaul of the Hungarian legal and economic system, PM Orbán will now have time to fine-tune the new framework, the conservative columnist explains. Concerning the left, Szerető contends that they were defeated because they offered no credible alternative to the Fidesz government, but promised instead to undo all its achievements and return to the pre-2010 years. Szerető adds that if Fidesz retains its two thirds parliamentary majority, it will be due to former PM Gyurcsány, whose participation in the left-wing alliance activated conservative voters. The landslide victory of Fidesz also legitimizes its first term policies including the new Basic Law, Szerető adds. As for the next four years, he predicts that Fidesz will need to make further efforts in order to improve order and public safety in order to take the wind out of the sails of far-right Jobbik, which has become stronger since 2010.

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