BUDAPEST, Hungary ( Associated Press) – Hungary will hold parliamentary elections on April 3, the president said Tuesday in a vote that will decide whether Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will remain in office after 12 years in power.
President Janos Eder announced on his website the date of the election, which is the earliest permitted by law. It will be the ninth election since Hungary’s democratic transition from a communist state in 1990.
Eder said the election would be held on the same day as a controversial referendum sponsored by the governing party to vote on his approach to Hungary’s LGBT issues – something opponents say is meant to denigrate sexual minorities.
The April election is expected to be Orban’s most significant challenge to power since he and his anti-immigration party, Fidze, won a two-thirds parliamentary majority in 2010.
Orban and Fidze are being challenged by a diverse coalition of six opposition parties that range from the moderate left to the far left, and who are neck-and-neck with the governing party, which recent polls suggest.
The parties, which previously competed against each other, have banded together as a single united bloc, arguing that Orbán’s changes in electoral laws, the seizure of large swaths of media, and improved financial resources. This is the only way to contend with the uneven playing field that has been created. ,
The Hungarian government under Orban has also come under fire from many liberals and moderate conservatives in the European Union, who argue that the leader oversaw the dismantling of democratic institutions, imposed undue controls on the judiciary and facilitated widespread corruption. Has provided.
But as the election draws closer, Orbán and Fidés have portrayed their political opponents as both right-wing and left-wing extremists serving foreign interests, and many Hungarians have received tax cuts, subsidies for families with children and a Major benefits are offered in the form of additional months. Regarding pension payment to retirees.
After the election date was announced, Orban wrote on his Facebook page, “We’ll be there!”