Hungarians vote in keenly-watched poll

Orban has clashed with EU institutions over his moves to clamp down on civil society and his fiery anti-immigration rhetoric, but he has drawn plaudits from other nationalist politicians and those on the far-right who look to him as an inspiration.

Hungarians vote in keenly-watched poll

World Bulletin / News Desk

Hungarians began voting Sunday in an election that is being keenly observed across Europe, which will determine whether firebrand nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban will win an expected third consecutive term.

Opinion polls have consistently put Orban and his right-wing Fidesz party 20 or more points clear of their nearest rivals, Jobbik, a far-right party that has been moving towards the centre, and the centre-left Socialists.

Orban himself voted early on Sunday morning with his wife at a school in the leafy Zugliget suburb of Budapest.

"This is a country which has always stepped up for itself, so we can trust in the people, I will accept their decision," he said.

Casting her vote at the same polling station, retired kindergarten worker Zsuzsanna Draxler said: "Of course I hope the Orban government will be able to continue its work".

But the first person to cast their vote at the station, who did not wish to be named, said only that he hoped for "something better" from the result.

Around 7.9 million Hungarians are eligible to vote and turnout figures will be closely watched for any clues of a possible upset.

A mainly first-past-the-post election system designed by Fidesz gives it an edge over a divided opposition but a high turnout and anti-Fidesz tactical voting could add an element of unpredictability.

Polling stations opened at 6:00 am local time (0400 GMT) and will stay open until 7:00 pm local time.

Preliminary results are expected one or two hours after polls close, with broader trends expected to become clear only slowly over the course of the evening.

Even if Fidesz does gain its expected parliamentary majority, analysts will be watching to see whether it falls short of the two-thirds "supermajority" that has enabled it to pass some of its most controversial bills.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 08 Nisan 2018, 10:42