Orban to use landslide victory to move against foreign NGOs

Orban wins 3rd consecutive term as prime minister

Hungary's nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Tuesday that his resounding election win, challenged by the opposition, shows that voters want to stop United States billionaire philanthropist George Soros interfering in the country.

After the Fidesz party secured a strong majority in the country's parliament in Sunday's elections, there have been reports that the new government could adopt a legislation to ban migration-friendly, non-governmental organizations on Hungarian soil.

This will give it a two-thirds majority in Parliament and a legislative carte blanche to pursue his transformation of the central European country into what he calls an "illiberal democracy".

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

With nearly all votes counted, the nationalist Jobbik party is in second place with 20% of the vote.

Meanwhile one of Hungary's few remaining opposition daily newspapers, Magyar Nemzet, said Tuesday that its Wednesday edition will be its last, after 80 years in print, due to "financial reasons".

As Mr Orban promised to push ahead with reforms, his campaign was criticised as "xenophobic" by official global election monitors yesterday after Mr Orban demonised refugees as "Muslim invaders" and warned of a Jewish conspiracy to dilute Hungary's Christian identity. The public broadcaster's output "clearly favoured the ruling coalition".

Gergely Gulyas, the head of Fidesz in parliament, rejected the respected worldwide monitoring body's report.

Italian far-right party the League, which is vying for the right to form a government after inconclusive elections, drew encouragement from Orban's victory, reprising his line against elite Hungarian-born tycoon George Soros.

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Orban is an avowed Eurosceptic who opposes further European Union integration.

Before the election, Orban's government had warned that Hungary would descend into chaos should it become an "immigrant country" like France or Belgium, with funds meant for Hungarian families or the country's underprivileged Roma minority diverted to migrants. He said he won't comment about privately-owned media outlets.

"Hungary voted with its heart and its head, ignoring threats from Brussels and Soros's billions..." While Merkel said in a congratulatory letter to Orban that he can count on Germany as a "reliable partner" in European and bilateral matters, her chief spokesman referenced divisions.

"Orban has more backbone and character than all the cowards of the European Union combined", Geert Wilders, chairman of the Dutch anti-Islam Party for Freedom said in a tweet in April 2017.

The father-of-five learned from a rocky first term as prime minister from 1998-2002.

He shook up the judiciary, brought state media under tighter control and tacked hard right during Europe's 2015 migrant crisis, building razor-wire anti-migrant fences on Hungary's borders with Serbia and Croatia. Orban campaigned on a promise of a legislative package dubbed "stop Soros", in reference to the Hungarian-born U.S. financier, that was laced with numerous thinly-veiled references to Soros' Jewish heritage.

That would allow Fidesz and its small ally, the Christian Democrats, to push through the so-called "Stop Soros" bills, said Janos Halasz, the party's parliamentary spokesman.

Daniel Hegedus, research adviser at Freedom House, said Orban's new victory casts a "dark shadow on the future, especially concerning the attacks against the critical civil society". The government said the presence of the migrants would weaken Hungary's security and increase its risk of terrorism. "We would like to keep Hungary as Hungary", he said. "Why change something that's working so well?"

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