The European Elections in Hungary

The European Elections in Hungary

June 2019

In Hungary, voter turnout hit 43.3% setting a record high since the country joined the EU in 2004.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz lead coalition secured 52.33% of the vote, up from 51% in 2014.  Orbán, whose party won 13 seats, said that the result was a mandate from Hungarian voters to do three things: stop migration in Europe, defend a Europe of nations, and defend Europe’s Christian culture. “We will work together with everyone who wants to stop migration” Orbán said.

The centre-left Democratic Coalition (DK) won second place in the election with 16.2% of the vote, followed by Momentum, a liberal party entering the European Parliament for the first time with 9.9%. Amongst the smaller parties, the Socialists (MSZP) and far-right Jobbik secured 6.7% and 6.4% respectively. 

The Fidesz party currently sits with the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament. In recent times Fidesz has clashed with the EPP’s leadership over Hungary’s record on the rule of law under Orbán, including its successful campain to force the Central European University (CEU) out of Budapest. However, it took a domestic media campaign condemning the current EPP President of the European Commission for the EPP to suspend Fdesz’s membership. Although suspended from internal EPP meetings Fidesz has not been expelled and as it stands will sit with the EPP lending the group 13 seats.

Orbán’s post-election rhetoric suggests that Fidesz may choose not to sit with the EPP preferring to align with more right-wing parties like Italy’s Lega Nord in a new group.  In taking 13 seats from the EPP this would almost half the deficit between the S&D (148) and the EPP (178) putting pressure on the EPP’s ability to asserts its position as the largest political group. Orbán will no doubt attempt to leverage this to his advantage.