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May 8, 2018 10:08 am

Hungarian Parliament Reconvenes to Elect Orban PM for New Term

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, April 10, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Bernadett Szabo / File.

Hungary’s parliament convened on Tuesday for an inaugural session after an election landslide gave Prime Minister Viktor Orban a third straight term, as around 1,000 people protested outside against what they call his authoritarian rule.

Right-wing nationalist Orban has increased his control over the media and placed allies in charge of formerly independent institutions, while his refusal to accept large numbers of migrants into Hungary has put him in conflict with the European Union.

His anti-immigration stance brought him an overwhelming victory in the April vote, particularly in rural areas. Orban’s election by parliament was expected to be a formality on Tuesday afternoon.

The protesters in Budapest, waving national and EU flags, said Orban had stifled the media and manipulated election rules unfairly.

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“I regard this government as illegitimate,” said demonstrator Edit Glasz. “By modifying the election law he secured another two-thirds majority in parliament.”

Election rules have been amended by Orban’s ruling Fidesz party since he took power in 2010.

The total number of seats was reduced from 386 to 199 and the ratio of constituency seats increased to 60 percent from less than 50.

District boundaries have been redrawn in ways critics say favor Fidesz, and the government has granted the right to citizenship and the right to vote to ethnic Hungarians in neighboring countries, who tend to support the party.

Protesters chanted “Democracy, democracy!” and put up a banner outside parliament reading, “The Constitution is Illegitimate.”

Orban’s economic policies have put the central European country on track for economic growth of four percent.

His Fidesz party holds 133 of 199 parliamentary seats. Orban is the longest-serving premier in post-communist Hungary.

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