Victory by Viktor Orban rings alarm bells in other European Union capitals

Adjust Comment Print

In a news conference with worldwide media two days after the election, Orban said that his government had already drawn up a "Stop Soros" package of legislation ahead of the vote.

Emboldened by Sunday's landslide election victory in Hungary, Viktor Orban's hardline anti-migrant party plans to hand itself powers to shut charities backed by the billionaire financier George Soros which are accused of helping refugees.

However the largest opposition party has demanded that the National Elections Office investigate alleged irregularities in the conduct of Sunday's poll. Almost-complete results showed by the following morning that Fidesz was likely to have won a two-thirds supermajority in Parliament, with 133 of 199 seats, enough to alter the constitution.

The closure of Magyar Nemzet will be a milestone in the gradual disappearance of independent media in Hungary that western European Union leaders and global rights groups say underlines the country's slide into authoritarianism.

More news: Woman gagged to death in Hyderabad, rape suspected

Without mentioning European Union ties or migration, Britain's foreign minister Boris Johnson also congratulated Orban on Twitter.

In a speech last month, Orban had said he would take unspecified "moral, political and legal" measures against his opponents in the event of a Fidesz victory, prompting fears of a clampdown on opposition.

"It's very clear that there are controversial topics in our cooperation", Steffen Seibert told reporters in Berlin on Monday, flagging disagreement especially over Hungary's response to the refugee crisis and its refusal to accept an European Union system to distribute migrants.

The bill was submitted to parliament in February.

More news: Players from Around the NBA React to Andre Ingram's Debut

"Hungary voted with its heart and its head, ignoring threats from Brussels and Soros's billions..."

Foreigners deemed to support asylum seekers could be barred from entering Hungary, NGOs staff face being barred from approaching border areas and organisations will undergo "security tests".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated Orban and called for cooperation on divisive issues, her spokesman Steffen Seibert told a news conference. "For me, these two relations will be the favored relations in the future". He did not provide any details on the possible changes in Hungary's cabinet. "This applies to Germany, too, but I was elected not by the German people but by the Hungarians".

"It is clear that our cooperation is subject to controversy, such as our countries' different positions on migration policy, but the chancellor proposes that we pursue this cooperation, both in a bilateral context and within the European framework and the values that united us", he said.

More news: Donald Trump warns Russian Federation of 'nice, smart' missile attack on Syria

Monitors from the OSCE economic grouping said Hungarian voters' ability to make a fully informed choice in the country's election was impaired by xenophobic rhetoric and media bias. "Thank you for the contribution to making political opinion on the Hungarian election".