Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban won reelection to a third consecutive term on April 8. With 97 percent of votes counted, Orban’s Fidesz party won 133 of the national assembly’s 199 seats in the election, putting the party in a strong position to achieve a two-thirds super majority in the legislature. A party that holds a super majority in Hungary’s national assembly is able to modify major laws and the country’s constitution.
An Associated Press report about Orban’s victory noted:
Orban has campaigned heavily on his unyielding anti-migration policies. He claims that the opposition is collaborating with the United Nations, the European Union and wealthy philanthropist George Soros to turn Hungary into an “immigrant country,” threatening its security and Christian identity.
“We want to call out what’s ailing this continent,” Orban told Hungary’s Christian-conservative Echo TV after claiming victory: “We don’t want to go against Europe and the EU, we want Europe and the EU to be strong and successful. But before that we need to be honest about what’s hurting us.”
Orban is known for being an outspoken champion of his nation’s sovereignty and has criticized efforts by European Union leaders to impose immigration quotas on member nations.
The Hungarian leader’s strong stands on securing his nation’s borders and limiting the admission of refugees from Middle Eastern countries have caused some observers to compare him to Donald Trump. This comparison was noted in an article in the Washington Post on September 5, 2015 headlined, “Hungary’s prime minister becomes Europe’s Donald Trump.” The writer of that article noted, in part:
Hungary’s maverick Prime Minister Viktor Orban is emerging as the straight-talking voice of right-wing Europe, vowing to block a wave of desperate refugees from seeking sanctuary in the region. Continuing a string of blunt statements of a sort rarely heard from heads of state on this side of the Atlantic, he warned [on September 4, 2015] that Europeans now stand to become “a minority in our own continent” if the floodgates are not immediately closed.
Trump dreams of building a wall to keep migrants out. But Orban, 52, has actually done it — erecting 109 miles of razor wire to stop them.
When he spoke to reporters after a meeting of the Visegrad Four group of central European leaders in Warsaw back on July 21, 2016, Orban declared that there is a clear link between illegal migration to Europe and terrorist attacks in European nations. “It is clear as two and two makes four, it is plain as day. There is an obvious connection,” Orban said through an interpreter. “If somebody denies this connection then, in fact, this person harms the safety of European citizens.”
As The New American observed in an article in September 2015, Orban has repeatedly criticized efforts by European Union leaders to impose immigration quotas on member nations before the continent’s borders are made secure. He told Hungarian diplomats in Budapest on September 7, 2015:
As long as we can’t defend Europe’s outer borders, it is not worth talking about how many people we can take in....
The quota system wants to treat the effects before it treats the causes of immigration. The main reason for this is because [the EU] cannot control its outer borders.
Bloomberg News quoted a statement from political analyst Tamas Boros of the Policy Solutions think tank in Budapest, saying: “Orban won this election on his anti-immigrant campaign, and populist parties across Europe will likely take notice of this winning formula. The strong mandate will likely also give Orban ammunition for his fights within the EU.”
The Bloomberg report observed that Orban’s warning that Muslim immigrants would “overrun” Europe was reflected by successful political gains made by like-minded parties across Europe over the past year, including Austria’s Freedom Party and the League and the Five Star Movement in Italy. The European Parliament is set to vote later this year on whether it should strip Budapest of its EU voting rights because of its anti-immigrant policies, which the EU charges are undemocratic.
However, Orban has repeatedly defended his position. “We want Hungary to remain a Hungarian country,” Orban has said. “We have a culture, which we call a Christian culture. This is how we live our lives. This is our world, our culture, our lifestyle. These are our life principles. We want to defend these and we don’t want others to change them.”
Photo of Viktor Orban with Angela Merkel: European People's Party