Hungary to release first preliminary election results at 1930 GMT

Hungary to release first preliminary election results at 1930 GMT

Hungary to release first preliminary election results at 1930 GMT

Opinion polls before the vote had consistently put Orban and Fidesz party 20 or more points clear of their nearest rivals, Jobbik, a far-right party that has been moving towards the centre, and the centre-left Socialists.

Voting officially closed at 1700 GMT.

Turnout at 6:30 p.m. - half an hour before official closing time - stood at 68.13 percent.

The Fidesz Party is projected to win with a two-third majority, 134 seats, while the nationalist Jobbik Party is expected to win 27 seats, according to the election office website. 199 seats in the Hungarian parliament are up for grabs.

According to the National Election Office, more than 3.3 million voters had taken part by 1pm, with a turnout rate of 42.3%.

"We are convinced that high turnout definitely reflects. that people want a change in government", Socialist spokeswoman Bernadett Budai was quoted as saying by national news agency MTI.

Orban has avoided public debates with opponents or speaking to independent media, preferring instead to address supporters at carefully stage-managed events where he has hammered home his anti-immigration message.

These addresses focused on one core policy - stopping immigration.

Casting her vote at the same polling station, retired kindergarten worker Zsuzsanna Draxler said: "Of course I hope the Orban government will be able to continue its work".

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Under Mr Orban, Hungary built a fence along its borders with Serbia and Croatia in 2015 to stop illegal migrants.

Orban, who centered his campaign on his unpleasant anti-migration stance, states it's a "misunderstanding" that his frequently harsh criticism of Brussels was steered at all of this European Union.

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

If Orban wins he is expected to carry on with his current economic policies - with income tax cuts and incentives to boost growth.

His administration has presided over strong economic growth which, he says, would be threatened under the opposition. A defeat could open the way for a disparate group of opposition parties to roll back some of his self-styled illiberal measures, some of which were modeled on Russian Federation.

Tamas Boros of the Policy Solutions think-tank says the high voter figures mean either "overwhelming support" for Prime Minister Viktor Orban's severe anti-migrant policies or the end of his populist, right-wing Fidesz party's omnipotence.

"Viktor Orban is a burnt-out politician, interested only in corruption and football", he once said.

A poll by Zavecz research institute published on Friday showed Fidesz had 46 percent support among decided voters, while Jobbik had 19 percent. It had been considered a Fidesz stronghold.

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