Hungary PM Viktor Orban re-elected for third term

Hungary PM Viktor Orban re-elected for third term

Hungary's right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban has claimed a landslide victory in Sunday's general election, the BBC reported.

The 54-year-old will serve a third consecutive term in office, with his party Fidesz projected to keep its key two-thirds majority in parliament.

Fidesz won almost half of the vote, with 93% of ballots counted, Hungary's National Election Office said.

Orban is a strong Eurosceptic who campaigned on an anti-immigration platform.

In a speech to supporters on Sunday night, Orban said his victory gave Hungarians "the opportunity to defend themselves and to defend Hungary".

Leaders of the second and third-placed parties have resigned in light of the result.

Polling stations were meant to close at 19:00, but some stayed open hours later due to long queues. Voter turnout reached a near-record 69% - an outcome some believed would favour the prime minister's opponents.

But with almost all votes counted, the nationalist Jobbik party is in second place with 20% of the vote. The Socialists are in third with 12%, and the LMP, Hungary's main Green Party, is in fourth with 7%.

Jobbik's chairman Gabor Vona stood down on Sunday night, telling a news conference: "Jobbik's goal, to win the elections and force a change in government, was not achieved. Fidesz won. It won again."

Socialist Party President Gyula Molnar was similarly downcast as he resigned, saying: "We regard ourselves as responsible for what happened [and] we have acknowledged the decision of voters."

The election campaign was dominated by immigration, with Orban promising to defend the country's borders and block migration by Muslims.

The prime minister refused to debate publicly with his opponents or speak to the independent media, speaking instead at rallies for his supporters.

These addresses focused on one core policy - stopping immigration.

"Migration is like rust that slowly but surely would consume Hungary," Orban said at his final rally on Friday.

In 2015, Hungary built a fence along its borders with Serbia and Croatia to stop illegal migrants.

Orban is an avowed Eurosceptic who opposes further EU integration. He refused to take part in the EU's refugee resettlement programme and has praised Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Marine Le Pen, leader of France's National Front, tweeted Orban her congratulations and said the "mass immigration promoted by the EU has been rejected once again".

Orban has promised to cut income taxes and pass pro-growth economic policies.

His administration has presided over strong economic growth, which he had argued would be threatened under the opposition.