Hungary PM on track for 3rd straight term in power

BUDAPEST: Hungary’s Viktor Orban, Europe’s hard-liner on immigration, on Friday hailed his common eurosceptic path with Poland’s right-wing government as he headed into an election which seems certain to hand him a third straight term in power.
After a campaign in which Orban has positioned himself as a saviour of Hungary’s Christian values and culture against a flood of migrants, all opinion polls put his Fidesz party well in the lead for Sunday’s election.
An emphatic victory could embolden Orban, Hungary’s longest serving post-communist prime minister, to solidify a Central European alliance against the European Union’s migration policies, and against a deeper integration of the bloc which he opposes.
It would also give a boost to other rightwing nationalists in Central Europe, in Poland and in neighbouring Austria, and expose cracks in the EU bloc.
On Friday, he voiced common cause with Poland, whose governing Law and Justice (PiS) party like Fidesz is under fire from the European Union over their refusal to take in migrants under a quota system and over their efforts to tighten state control of their courts and media.
“We believe Poles and Hungarians have a common path, common fight and common goal: to build and defend our homeland in the form that we want… Christian and with national values,” Orban said on at the unveiling of a statue marking a 2010 plane crash that killed the Polish president.
Poland could count on Hungary in its brushes with Brussels because “when Poland is attacked then it is Central Europe under attack,” he said.
Poland’s PiS leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, attending the ceremony commemorating the plane crash in Russia in which his twin brother was killed, endorsed Orban ahead of Sunday’s vote.
“The dignity and freedom of nations is closely linked to Viktor Orban’s name not just for Hungarians, but for Poles as well,” Kaczynski said through an interpreter. Orban’s Fidesz party, with a firm grip on the media, dominates the public agenda. All polls predict a win for him on Sunday though something short of the landslides of the 2010 and 2014 elections.
There is also a slight chance that the fragmented opposition, with former far-right Jobbik as the main challenger, could upset a smooth victory and strip Fidesz of its parliament majority.
Orban, 54, who started out as a young liberal activist in the late 1980s, has transformed Hungary’s democratic fabric in the past eight years with what his critics see as an increasingly authoritarian style. — Reuters