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Hungary votes, expected to grant third term to nationalist PM Orban

Hungary votes, expected to grant third term to nationalist PM Orban

Hungary started general elections on Sunday to elect a 199-seat parliament, which could make the current Prime Minister Viktor Orban succeed in a third straight term.

Analysts say the strong participation could point either to a sweeping win for Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Fidesz party or a strong showing by splintered opposition groups.

Clad in a green summer jacket and white shirt, Jobbik leader Gabor Vona, 39, arrived to vote in the eastern Hungarian city of Gyongyos, his home town and the district where he is likely to win a seat.

"Today will decide whether Hungary becomes an emigrant country or not - and I wouldn't like Hungary to be an emigrant country", Vona said.

A woman said she didn't vote for the ruling party. "The Hungarian political landscape will dramatically change today".

Voters were no longer allowed to join queues at polling stations from 1700 GMT, but some polling stations stayed open to allow those already in line to cast their ballots.

"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.

"Everyone should go to vote because this election determines Hungary's course not for four years but for two generations at least", he said.

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Orban is seeking his third consecutive term and fourth overall and his campaign has been almost exclusively about opposing migration.

Most polling stations closed and the vote count began in Hungary's election on Sunday, after a very high turnout that could threaten Viktor Orban's parliamentary majority. The opposition Socialist Party urged authorities to "at least distribute water" in districts where voters were waiting in line, sometimes for hours. "Alongside high voter turnout, the country will have a strong, legitimate parliament". According to the National Election Office, 13.17 percent of eligible voters had cast ballots by 9 a.m. (0700GMT), while in 2006 turnout was 11.39 percent at the same hour.

'We are celebrating democracy and it seems like this feast will be lovely because many of us are taking part, ' said Gergely Karacsony, the leading candidate of the left-wing Socialist and Dialogue parties.

Karacsony, who heads the joint list of the Socialist Party and the Dialogue party, also said President Janos Ader, a former lawmaker for Orban's Fidesz party, had "omitted a very serious task" by not calling for Hungarians to cast their ballots in the election.

Orban and his wife voted early in the morning at a school in the leafy Zugliget suburb of Budapest.

Orban accuses Soros and the organisations he funds of promoting mass Muslim and African immigration into Europe in order to undermine its Christian identity.

He says "the European Union is not in Brussels. The European Union does not mean Brussels, it means the European capitals together".


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