Photograph: Laszlo Balogh/Getty Images
All day long, Hungarians queued, sometimes for several hours, to cast their ballot in Sunday’s high-stake parliamentary elections. The record level of turnout (around 70%) forced some polling stations to remain open until late and drove many commentators to speculate on an outcome that looked increasingly uncertain. But when the results were finally announced, they left no room for doubt: Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party won a landslide victory, securing a third consecutive term as Hungary’s Prime minister.
With 48.9% of the votes and 133 seats at the National Assembly (out of 199), the Fidesz-KDNP alliance keeps its constitutional super-majority. The opposition lags far behind: Jobbik, a far-right radical party which transitioned into a more mainstream conservative party in recent years, wins 19.8% of the votes (26 seats) and the Socialist coalition comes third (12.4%, 20 seats). Both party leaders have already announced their resignation in the wake of their defeat. Only two other parties (DK and LMP) reached the legal threshold of 5% required to hold seats at the National Assembly.
Viktor Orbán’s triumph is unequivocal. His virulent nationalistic, Eurosceptic and anti-immigration stance strongly resonated in rural Hungary’s deep-rooted fears, while the country’s urban youth has, according to preliminary estimations, overwhelmingly voted for the opposition. Addressing his supporters on Sunday night, Budapest’s strongman said his victory gives Hungarians “the opportunity to defend themselves and to defend Hungary”, thus staying faithful to his campaign rhetoric. All over Europe, many people are still in shock, fearing Viktor Orbán’s landslide reelection might just have handed him the legitimacy he needed to lead Hungary on an ever-more nationalistic and autocratic path.