Hungary's Prime Minister Orban Wins Reelection

Hungary's Prime Minister Orban Wins Reelection
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban reacts in front of supporters after the announcement of the partial results of parliamentary election in Budapest, Hungary, on April 3, 2022. (Bernadett Szabo/Reuters)

BUDAPEST—Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban scored a fourth consecutive landslide win in Sunday's election, as voters endorsed his ambition of a conservative, "illiberal" state.

Surrounded by leading party members, a triumphant Orban, 58, said Sunday's victory came against all odds.

"We have scored a victory so big, that it can be seen even from the Moon," he said. "We have defended Hungary's sovereignty and freedom."

Preliminary results with about 98 percent of national party list votes counted showed Orban's Fidesz party leading with 53.1 percent of votes versus 35 percent for Peter Marki-Zay's opposition alliance. Fidesz was also winning 88 of 106 single-member constituencies.

Based on preliminary results, the National Election Office said Fidesz would have 135 seats, a two-thirds majority, and the opposition alliance would have 56 seats.

Opposition leader Marki-Zay, 49, conceded defeat.

"I don't want to hide my disappointment, my sadness ... We knew this would be an uneven playing field," he said. "We admit that Fidesz got a huge majority of the votes. But we still dispute whether this election was democratic and free."

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) sent a full-scale election monitoring mission for the vote, only the second such effort in an European Union member state.

The election comes at a time when global energy woes and steep labor shortages in the region have fueled inflation increases throughout central Europe. Consumer price growth reached an almost 15-year high of 8.3 percent in February in Hungary.

Orban has condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which the Kremlin describes as a "special military operation," and has not vetoed any European Union sanctions against Moscow even though he said he did not agree with them.

But he has banned any transport of arms to Ukraine via Hungarian territory, and said benefits of close ties with Russia include gas supply security.