Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's ruling Fidesz party was re-elected on Sunday for a third successive term with a strong mandate, with preliminary results showing Fidesz possibly gaining a two-thirds majority in parliament.
With 93 percent of votes counted, National Election Office data projected Fidesz winning 133 seats in the 199-seat parliament. Nationalist Jobbik was projected to win 26 seats, with the Socialists in third place with 20 lawmakers.
The right-wing Jobbik party came a distant second in Sunday elections amid a landslide victory for the ruling Fidesz party, prompting the resignation of Jobbik's chairman Gabor Vona. "Jobbik's goal, to win the elections and force a change in government, was not achieved," Vona told a late-night news conference. "Fidesz won. It won again."
"I hereby tender my resignation. Tomorrow afternoon Jobbik's board will plan the tasks ahead ... We would have liked for this high turnout to yield a different result, but the people decided this way."
The presidency of Hungary's main left-wing opposition party, the Socialists, tendered its resignation on Sunday after a crushing defeat by Orban's nationalist Fidesz, Socialist Party President Gyula Molnar said.
"We regard ourselves responsible for what happened, (and) we have acknowledged the decision of voters," he told Socialist supporters and journalists.
Orban won a third straight term in power at the election, and his party may also retain its two-thirds majority in parliament.
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Orban has portrayed himself as a savior of Hungary's Christian culture against Muslim migration into Europe pledged to "fight" for his country. Last week, at his closing campaign rally, Orban vowed to protect his nation from Muslim migrants. "Migration is like rust that slowly but surely would consume Hungary," he said.
But the most visible face of Hungary’s acrimonious election campaign wasn't Orban himself, but Hungarian-born financier and philanthropist George Soros.
The 87-year-old Jewish financier’s face was on Fidesz party posters and stickers all over central Budapest during the campaign. They urged voters to “Stop the Soros candidates!” and suggested that opposition parties would cut down the country’s controversial border fence, erected during the 2015 migrant crisis, though these parties have never pledged to do so.
Michael Colborn contributed to the report.