Orban’s Election Win In Hungary Tightens His Grip on Politics

Viktor Orban, Hungary's prime minister, waves to supporters as he arrives at the Fidesz party headquarters following parliamentary elections.

BUDAPEST—A landslide victory has left Hungary’s nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban in a position to cement both his authority at home and his influence in the European Union, potentially shifting the Continent’s balance of power further to the right, even as international observers declared the vote unfair.

Mr. Orban’s Fidesz party won 134 of the legislature’s 199 seats in Sunday’s election, ensuring it has the number of votes to pass major reforms and constitutional changes unilaterally. Hungarian political analysts and Fidesz officials said they widely expected their now four-term prime minister to do both.

Hours after the election, a Fidesz spokesman said the party within weeks would pass a law imposing a 25% tax on aid groups that assist migrants—the so-called “Stop Soros Law,” aimed at Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros, a liberal donor to nongovernmental institutions. A spokesman for Mr. Orban said the prime minister would tighten restrictions preventing NGOs from getting involved in politics.

There were hardly any bright spots for the fractured opposition, except for a statement by an international observer group that effectively agreed with them that elections in Mr. Orban’s country have become unfair. The prime minister’s party mixed state funds into its own coffers to run its campaign, said observers from Vienna’s Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

The country’s major TV outlets, virtually all of which are owned by Mr. Orban’s government or his allies, covered the prime minister “in almost exclusively positive terms,” the observers said. Mr. Orban’s government rewarded them with by buying advertising, they added. Its rules on how voters abroad could cast ballots were different for different categories of voters—seemingly along partisan lines, the observers said.


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