In the Hungarian parliamentary elections held on Sunday, April 3, the right-wing Fidesz-KDNP coalition led by incumbent prime minister Viktor Orbán secured a comprehensive victory by winning 53.29% votes and 135 seats in the 199-seat National Assembly. The voter turnout for the polls was reported to be 69.54%. The grand opposition coalition of diverse parties including the conservative Jobbik, center-left Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP), the Democratic Coalition (DK), Green Party (LMP), and Momentum managed to win only 56 seats with 34.89% of the votes. Meanwhile, the far-right Our Homeland Movement gained seven seats with 6.15% vote share, increasing their tally significantly from just two seats in the last elections.
The Fidesz party-led government had also organized a national referendum on the introduction of sex education in schools on Sunday. According to reports, less than 50% of the electorate voted in the referendum and as a result, the National Electoral Bureau declared the referendum as invalid. A 50% turnout is stipulated as mandatory for a referendum to be valid. Meanwhile, 95% of the people who participated in the referendum voted against the introduction of sex education in schools. This is what Fidesz had been advocating for along with an anti-LGBTIQ law passed in the National Assembly in 2021.
Read: “A new kind of right-wing extremism is on a roll in Hungary”
Viktor Orbán has been a controversial political figure in Hungary and within Europe, notorious for his anti-worker and anti-immigrant policies. Running a hyper-nationalist, homophobic and Eurosceptic campaign, Orbán has polarized the country to secure a consecutive fourth term in office. Working class sections, students and the academic community, as well as LGBTQI groups and other progressive sections in Hungary have regularly opposed the controversial policies of Orbán’s government, including the regressive labor code reform dubbed as the slave law.
Orbán has also been in loggerheads with the European Union (EU). The EU has accused Orbán of undermining democratic institutions in Hungary and pursuing policies in an authoritarian manner, effectively curtailing many liberties including the freedom of the press. Despite repeated protests from the working class, youth and students groups, and professionals including teachers, Orbán has managed to continue his winning streak mainly due to the lack of a credible alternative from the opposition. The grand opposition coalition ranging from the conservatives to the greens did not present any significant political and economic policy alternatives and a clear vision to counter Orbán’s hegemony.
Following the declaration of election results on April 4, the Workers’ Party of Hungary 2006-European Left stated that “the number one factor of Fidesz’s recent election victory is the chaos in the Hungarian ‘opposition’: political cilentilism, opportunism, flattery to Western politics, joining forces with the Nazi Jobbik, complete separation from the workers, lack of political program and concept, neoliberal austerity and billionaires.”
“As we have been saying for years, Fidesz can only be replaced with a humane, green and solidarity social crisis treatment program. The extremist pro-market opposition, based on hatred, has failed again,” it added.
The nomination of a candidate of the European Left and the Social Democratic Party of Hungary (MSZDP) was earlier rejected by the authorities. The Leftist Alliance comprising the democratic socialist Yes Solidarity for Hungary Movement (ISZOMM) and the communist Hungarian Workers Party failed to gain any significant traction in the elections.