High turnout in Hungary leads to election delays


All 199 seats of Hungary's parliament will be up for election, as Hungarians vote today.

Winning another two-thirds majority would give Orban the chance to boost a new class of politically-connected oligarchs, tighten his grip on institutions such as the courts, and strengthen resistance against countries like France and Germany that are seeking to deepen European Union integration.

Additionally, Hungary has backed Poland in its rule of law battle with Brussels, while remaining outspoken on European Union policies, including immigration. The two parties controlled 133 seats in the outgoing parliament. Such an outcome would allow Orbán to pursue radical change, perhaps tightening his grip Hungary in the same vein as Poland.

Fidesz is seeking a third consecutive term in office and has won 49.15 percent of votes, with more than 64 percent of votes counted, according to the NVI, which said turnout had reached 68.80 percent.

But as Chairman of the Party, Vona has gradually brought Jobbik into the mainstream in the hope of widening its political base. His main competitors are Gergely Karacsony, a candidate for the Socialist and Dialogue parties; and Gabor Vona of the far-right nationalist Jobbik party.

Though Orban has campaigned heavily on anti-migration policies, voters are more concerned with government corruption, poverty, and the country's health care system.

The election produced a turnout of around 70 percent, exceeding the past three elections.

In Hodmezovasarhely, a Fidesz stronghold in southeastern Hungary, voters complaining of graft, cronyism, and intimidation elected an independent in a February mayoral election for the first time in two decades.

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Vona's Jobbik party started out as xenophobic group well known for its anti-Semitic views.

"We feel there is not enough freedom here, I know a lot of people who won't hang around if things don't change so I'm not surprised there is high turnout", said one voter who wished to remain anonymous.

Opposition leaders said they were encouraged by high early turnout.

He had always voted for Fidesz and praised Orban's policy to support families.

After casting his vote in a wealthy district of Budapest, he said he would stand up for Hungary's interests and said Hungary was a loyal member of global organizations.

Orban, who voted with his wife at a Budapest school near their home, told a crowd of reporters that he will "respect the decision" of the Hungarian voters.

"Safety is first", said Julia Scharle, 27, holding her child outside the polling station where Orban cast his vote. Hungary's National Election Office reports 13.17 percent of eligible voters had cast ballots by 9 a.m. (0700GMT). "The EU is in Berlin, in Budapest, in Prague and in Bucharest".