- Title: HUNGARY: Hungarians vote in EU elections as low turn-out could favour far right
- Date: 25th May 2014
- Summary: BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (MAY 25, 2014) (REUTERS) DANUBE AND BRIDGES DANUBE, CHAIN BRIDGE AND FORMER ROYAL PALACE BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (RECENT, 2014) (REUTERS) EU ELECTION CAMPAIGN POSTER WITH OPPOSITION LEFT / LIBERAL PARTY CANDIDATE'S FACE PAINTED WITH EU FLAG AND HUNGARIAN FLAG CARS PASSING POSTERS EU ELECTION POSTER SHOWING HUNGARIAN PRIME MINISTER VIKTOR ORBAN AND HIS MESSAGE TO BRUSSELS ELECTION POSTER READING "Our message to Brussels: more respect for the Hungarians"
- Embargoed: 9th June 2014 13:00
- Location: Hungary
- Country: Hungary
- Topics: General,Politics
- Reuters ID: LVAEOIAKZ48L5XUP5UWTL7PB70VJ
- Story Text: The ruling Fidesz party is expected to be the winner in Hungary as voters cast their ballots for European elections on Sunday (May 25), according to polls.
Fidesz is expected to win around half of Hungary's 21 mandates to the European Parliament, with Prime Minister Viktor Orban's party likely to repeat its 45 percent election victory of the recent national elections.
Fidesz's main campaign message was representing Hungarian interests in Brussels, with the slogan of 'our message to Brussels: more respect to the Hungarians'.
It has resonated with many voters who see Orban as a kind of freedom fighter. "Hungary should not dance to the tune set by Brussels but our country should really have a say in the matters of Europe," Peter Szentes said after he cast his vote.
Another voter who favoured the opposition left-liberal parties said he was worried Hungary was getting too close to Russia.
"If we want to belong to a community it should rather be Europe than that of the 'big brown bear' [meaning Russia]," Gaspar Kantor said.
Others felt Hungary was treated with animosity in Brussels and wanted more radical representation. "At present there are many EP members who are against Hungary so we should try to have better representation," said Zsolt Felegyhazi.
So far, voter turn-out was at a record low, according to election centre figures at 1100 GMT which showed a voter participation of only 15 percent, lower than in all previous EU elections.
If the turn-out remains low, it could favour the far right party Jobbik, which is expected to at least repeat its 2009 result of three mandates.
Jobbik could become the second biggest party after Fidesz, thus become Hungary's main opposition party.
Jobbik leader Gabor Vona told reporters after he cast his vote that his party was set to pose a serious challenge to Orban, despite the recent espionage accusations against one of their EP members.
"There is another stake in this election in light of recent developments. I think that in the last days of this election campaign due to foreign pressure certain forces tried to break us. I ask my supporters to give a strong message with their votes to this. They should reply to the foreign pressure and its domestic government support that Jobbik cannot be broken, Jobbik cannot be divided, and Jobbik cannot be stopped. We will be the challenger of Fidesz at the next elections."
Hungary's chief prosecutor recently asked the European Parliament to lift the immunity of Jobbik MEP Bela Kovacs on suspicions of a crime that may result in an imprisonment of two to eight years. Kovacs denied the allegations.
The newspaper Magyar Nemzet said Bela Kovacs was suspected of espionage for Russia.
Espionage carries a two-to-eight year potential sentence under Hungarian law. Kovacs rejected the allegations of espionage and said he would relinquish his immunity willingly and stand for any examination to clear his name.
He is currently third on the Jobbik EP list, and opinion polls and April's election results suggest that will be enough to secure him a spot in the European Parliament again.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2014. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None