Thu. Jan 27th, 2022

With a united opposition alliance, Prime Minister Viktor Orban faces his toughest competition since coming to power in 2010.

Hungarian President Janos Ader has convened a parliamentary election for April 3 with a referendum on LGBTQ issues held on the same day, the president’s office said.

For the first time since the regime in a landslide in 2010, Conservative nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his Fidesz party will face a united front of opposition parties that will ensure a close election race.

Voters will decide whether to pursue policies that prioritize national sovereignty, traditional Christian values ​​and views against immigration and LGBTQ rights – issues that have soured the Orban government’s relations with European Union leaders in Brussels.

The opposition alliance includes the Democratic Coalition, the Socialist Party, liberals and the previously far-right, now center-right Jobbik. It is led by Peter marki-zay, which in 2018 put an end to many years of Fidesz rule in the farm village of Hodmezovasarhely where he is now mayor.

Marki-Zay says he has the skills to forge a broad spectrum of voters who are desperate for change, but he faces the challenge of keeping his six-party alliance together, which is now neck and neck in opinion polls with Fidesz run.

On election day, Hungarians will be asked to vote on four government questions on LGBTQ issues, as Orban identifies himself as the defender of traditional family values ​​as a key part of his campaign.

In the referendum, voters will be asked whether they support the holding of sexual orientation workshops in schools without parental consent, and whether they believe gender reassignment procedures should be “promoted” among children.

They will also be asked whether media content that can “affect” sexual orientation should be shown to children without restrictions.

Orban remains popular at home despite accusations by critics of its centralizing policies led Hungary to authoritarianism.

His supporters say he has reformed Hungary after decades of stagnation and upheld the Central European EU member’s national sovereignty and Christian identity.

Since 2015, the 58-year-old has also become known abroad for his stubborn anti-immigration policy, which has emerged with Poland as a fierce critic of EU policy in these and other areas.

In the last election in 2018, Orban’s Fidesz party, with its junior coalition partner the Christian Democrats, won about 48 percent of the vote, giving it 133 of the assembly’s 199 seats.

The result meant that Fidesz retained the two-thirds “super-majority” he won in 2010 and 2014, which enabled him to push major bills through parliament.

But for the first time since 2006, a Hungarian general election is unpredictable after the opposition joined forces to fight electoral rules introduced in 2012 under Orban, which favors Fidesz.

In October, a six-party alliance of opposition parties from left to right held its first ever election to select some challengers against Orban and Fidesz in all 106 constituencies.

That month Orban accused Brussels and Washington of trying to interfere in Hungarian politics before the parliamentary election.

He told tens of thousands of supporters at a rally in central Budapest that Washington and billionaire George Soros try to get the left-wing opposition elected by using their money, media and networks.

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