Like It or Not, Orban and the EU Are Stuck With Each Other

Like It or Not, Orban and the EU Are Stuck With Each Other
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban gestures while delivering a speech during his final pre-election rally, Szekesfehervar, Hungary, April 1, 2022 (AP photo by Petr David Josek).

He’s been called Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest ally in the European Union and accused of “eliminating democracy,” and he’s become the poster child of the global hard right. Now Viktor Orban has won a fourth consecutive term as Hungarian prime minister in a landslide. In parliamentary elections on April 3, Orban’s Fidesz and its small satellite party KDNP took more than 50 percent of the vote, with the opposition coalition United for Hungary winning just 35 percent. The new far-right Our Homeland Movement also entered parliament with around 6 percent. The result will give the Fidesz-KDNP coalition 135 seats in the 199-seat parliament, a constitutional supermajority that will allow it to further marginalize the opposition.

As preliminary results were announced, Orban told cheering crowds that his “huge victory” could be seen “from the Moon, but certainly from Brussels as well,” a reference to his regular clashes with EU institutions over issues ranging from the rule of law to media freedoms. 

His election victory has been hailed as a success for national-conservative movements across the world. Orban’s anti-immigration and pro-family rhetoric, as well as his claim to be a defender of Christian civilization and a champion of “illiberal democracy,” have made him a darling of hard-right leaders and media personalities in Europe and the U.S., including Donald Trump and Fox News host Tucker Carlson, both of whom have praised the Hungarian leader.  

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