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'Vik-tator!': Thousands protest Orban government in Hungary

April 14, 2018

Hungarians are calling for changes to the voting process they say has given Prime Minister Viktor Orban's party an unfair advantage. International observers have also queried the fairness of the recent national election.

Protests in Budapest
Image: Reuters/B. Szabo

Thousands of Hungarians rallied in Budapest on Saturday in protest of what they saw as a rigged electoral process that gave Prime Minister Viktor Orban a fourth term in office last week. The motto of the rally was "We are the majority."

"We want to live in a state of law, where checks and balances are present …We want to live in a real democracy," said organizer Viktor Gyetvai.

Hungary's April 8 general election has also been criticized by international observers such as the OSCE, which described the campaign as marked by "intimidating and xenophobic rhetoric, media bias and opaque campaign financing."

The organization also criticized the amount of public funds made available to Orban's ruling party, Fidesz, a right-wing populist party.

There have been multiple reports of irregularities at polling stations, all to Fidesz' advantage.

'Filthy Fidesz!'

Shouting slogans like "Vik-tator!" and "Filthy Fidesz!" marchers headed towards the center of government in Budapest. Amongst other things, they were calling for a change in the rule that has allowed Fidesz to maintain a super-majority in parliament despite winning only around 50 percent of the vote.

Outside Hungary, not just the OSCE has slammed Orban's campaign rhetoric demonizing migrants, and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker even jokingly called the Hungarian premier a "dictator" to his face after a summit.

The 54-year-old politician has been in power since 2010. Under his administration Hungarians have complained about a clampdown on the free press, overreach into the country's judiciary, and questionable election practices.

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es/tj (AP, AFP)