Tens of thousands of Hungarians demonstrated on Saturday in Budapest to protest the re-election of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, accusing him of having skewed the vote that saw him re-elected for a fourth term as prime minister last week. The demonstrators numbered 100,000, according to the organisers.
The crowd marched in the centre of the Hungarian capital towards the Parliament, in front of which was to be held a demonstration under the slogan “We are the majority!”. Many protesters, most of whom were young, chanted “democracy! And waved Hungarian flags and European Union flags. Protestors called for a recount of the votes and a more pluralistic public media.
Conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has been in power since 2010, won a third consecutive term last Sunday, his Fidesz party having won nearly half of the vote, which should secure him a two-thirds majority in Parliament. The 54-year-old leader’s government is regularly accused of muzzling the media by subjecting it to tight editorial control.
Fidesz has also been plagued by accusations of corruption and nepotism in recent years. The EU’s anti-corruption agency, OLAF, recommended taking back almost $50 million from Hungary due to corruption allegations in February.
Eighty-six percent of respondents reported thinking that there is a widespread corruption problem in Hungary, according to a 2017 EU poll.
Observers from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said in a report this week that although the voting operations were conducted in satisfactory conditions, citizens’ ability to vote in an informed manner had been hampered by the prevailing “xenophobic rhetoric” and the “bias of the media.”