Viktor Orban maintains firm control of the Hungarian Parliament


Hungary's governing Fidesz party signalled on Monday it could push on quickly with legislation to crack down on organisations promoting migrant rights as soon as its parliament reconvenes after Prime Minister Viktor Orban's sweeping election victory.

Some analysts said during the 2018 election campaign, Orban's Fidesz actually swapped places with former far right party Jobbik, which has been trying to rebrand itself as a more moderate force.

Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki also congratulated Mr Orban, saying "the path of reform is never easy", but "the support of the majority of society shows that it is worth making this effort".

The win opens the way for Orban, 54, to become Hungary's longest-serving prime minister and, if he finishes his term, to rule the country of 10 million for half of its post-communist existence.

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Orban, who was elected to his third consecutive term, started to speak out against immigration following a mass migration in 2015 coming through Hungary's southern border with Serbia. Fidesz won nearly 49 percent of votes, compared with 45 percent in 2014, after a campaign that focused nearly exclusively on the supposed threat to national sovereignty posed by migrants, of whom Hungary has accepted vanishingly few.

Orban told a cheering crowd of his supporters: "We have won". In February, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke out at a meeting with Likud ministers and claimed that Soros was behind Israeli protests that were critical of the government's plan to deport African migrants. The 69% of voters who turned out to cast their ballot handed Fidesz a supermajority in the Hungarian parliament, having captured two-thirds of the 199 seats available.

Orban has clashed with European Union institutions over his rejection of the bloc's refugee resettlement scheme and his clampdown on civil society, while he has drawn plaudits from other nationalist politicians and those on the far right who look to him as an inspiration. No wonder a US President better known for his attacks on foreign leaders called Mr Orban a "hero". "The countries of Europe need dialogue and unity more than ever", he said.

Meanwhile, it may be that not Orban, but the EU, has to change its position and face discussion over European values and basic principles, Konrad Krammar wrote for Austrian daily Kurier.

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Marine Le Pen, leader of France's National Front, tweeted Orban her congratulations and said the "mass immigration promoted by the European Union has been rejected once again".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated Orban, pledging that her country will be a "reliable partner" for Budapest, despite differences, her spokesman said.

In September, Orban's government erected a fence on the Serbian border to keep them out, and the unrelenting anti-immigration stance has been central to his policies ever since.

Leaders of the second and third-placed parties resigned following the result.

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The proposed legislation, dubbed "Stop Soros" by the government before the vote, is part of Orban's strident anti-immigration campaign targeting Hungarian born US financier George Soros, whose philanthropy aims to bolster liberal and open-border values.