BUDAPEST, Hungary (Reuters) – Prime Minister Viktor Orban could use his broad political mandate to extend the Hungarian crackdown on civil organizations that have criticized his anti-immigration policies.
The right-wing nationalist He projected himself as a savior of the Christian culture against Muslim migration to Europe, an image that resonated with more than 2.5 million voters, especially in rural areas.
His Fidesz party won a two-thirds majority for the third consecutive time in Sunday's election, which means it has the powers to change constitutional laws.
The victory could encourage Orban to put more force in a central European alliance against EU migration policies, working with other right-wing nationalists in Poland and Austria, and further exposing the cracks in the European Union of 28 nations.
The European Commission said it hoped to work with Hungary on many challenges.
On Monday, a spokesman for Fidesz said one of the first laws passed by the new parliament could be legislation that empowers the government to ban NGOs that support migration and pose a "national security risk."
The proposed legislation, called "Stop Soros" by the government before the vote, is part of Orban's strident anti-immigrant campaign directed against Hungarian financier George Soros, whose philanthropy aims to reinforce liberal and frontier values.
A spokesman for Fidesz told state radio on Monday: "After parliament is formed, at the end of April … in early May at the next parliament session we can start working … that's necessary for the interest of the country, which could be the Stop Soros legal package. "
A nongovernmental organization described the possibility that the bill was" frighteningly serious ".
Among the measures presented before the elections were the mandatory registration of some non-governmental organizations that "support illegal immigration," a 25 percent tax that will be levied on foreign donations collected by such NGOs, and activists they could face restraining orders that prevent them from approaching the EU's external borders in Hungary. Those borders have been strengthened since the influx of immigrants in 2015.
Last month, Orban told state radio that the government had information about activists who were being paid by Soros.
"We know by name who they are and how they work to transform Hungary into a country of immigrants, which is why we draft and present the Stop Soros bill that qualifies immigration as a national security issue," he said. Orban before the elections.
Soros has rejected the government's campaign against him as "distortions and lies" aimed at creating a false external enemy.
HARDENING OF THE STAY?
According to preliminary results, with 99 percent of the votes counted, data from the National Electoral Office showed that Fidesz won 133 seats, a tight two-thirds majority in the 199-seat parliament. The nationalist Jobbik won 26 seats, while the Socialists were projected as third parties with 20 legislators.
Some of the NGOs that could be affected by the new law said they expected a hardening of the new government's position.
"I think what the ruling party promised during the campaign will now be fulfilled," said Stefania Kapronczay, director of the Hungarian Union for Civil Liberties. "This was a key promise to stop the Soros organizations, whatever that means." With a two-thirds majority, there is no doubt that they can and will do it. "
" This is terrifyingly serious, "he said.
Transparency International's Legal Director, Miklos Ligeti, said at the moment that they considered the Halasz's comment as "a political declaration made in the heat of an electoral victory."
Ligeti added that if the government presented the version already published earlier this year, it should await the opinion of the Venice Committee of the European Council, who has said that he will analyze the three laws of the package.
Orban, the longest-serving Hungarian prime minister, opposes a deeper integration of the EU and, as a team with Poland, has been a fierce critic of Brussels policies.
Since coming to power in 2010, his government has been pitted against the European Commission for reforms, which critics say has eroded democratic checks and balances and weakened the independence of the media.
Critics say that Orban has put Hungary on an increasingly authoritarian path and his position on immigration has fueled xenophobia in the Central European country.
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen, president of the National Front, was the first to congratulate Orban on Sunday.
Orban's victory is "a confirmation of the Central European emancipation policy," said Deputy Foreign Minister of Poland and sent to the EU Konrad Szymanski on Monday.
However, some people in the capital, Budapest, where Fidesz only won in six of the 18 constituencies, were very disappointed on Monday morning.
"Well, the government has successfully implemented its hate campaign, they planted hatred in people's hearts, which is very sad," said Balazs Bansagi, 45, a quality controller.
Written by Krisztina Than; Editing by Alison Williams