Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s incumbent Prime Minister, has won reelection in the country’s general ballot. Orbán’s right-wing nationalist Fidesz party secured two-thirds of the vote despite pressure from a united front of opposition parties. This means that Orbán will enjoy his fourth consecutive turn as Prime Minister of Hungary, and his fifth appointment to the role since joining politics.
The Fidesz-led coalition earned a surprising 53% of the vote, while the pro-European coalition, United for Hungary, brought in around 34%. This victory is evidence of increased nationalist sentiment in Hungary after a chaotic period that has complicated European politics.
Fidesz rode a wave of nationalist enthusiasm to its resounding win in the recent election. Voters seem to have welcomed the party’s pro-Hungary rhetoric in the aftermath of historic inflation, chaotic supply lines, and other unsettling recent events.
The party largely messaged its desire to keep Hungary out of international conflicts. The United for Hungary coalition embraced messaging that saw it pledging to help other European countries in the event of war. Fidesz, meanwhile, sold itself as the party of “Hungary first,” insisting it would fight to keep Hungary out of international conflicts.
Exit polling suggests that Hungary’s political spectrum is strongly divided between rural and urban areas. United for Hungary secured the vast majority of the vote in the country’s most populated cities, like the capital of Budapest.
However, in sparely-populated rural regions, Fidesz commanded a massive lead over its pro-European opposition. This echoes similar patterns in other European countries like Poland and Germany, where right-leaning parties enjoy more success in less-populated areas.
Orbán has clashed openly with the European Union over a number of policy decisions. Brussels has taken the Prime Minister to task over his stance on issues like immigration, freedom of media, and judicial reform.
“We won a victory so big that you can see it from the moon, and you can certainly see it from Brussels,” Orbán said in his victory speech, taunting the EU over his continued dominance in Hungarian politics.
The EU recently passed legislation that would allow the bloc to cease the flow of funds to countries that don’t adhere to Brussels’ values. This law is most likely to impact countries like Hungary and Poland that have nationalist leaders. With Fidesz’s recent victory, Orbán can say he has the national mandate to govern Hungary the way he has for the past decade.