Hungary’s Orban kicks off campaigning for April polls
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Saturday touted his government’s work, while warning of refugees from Ukraine if war breaks out as campaigning starts for April elections.
ungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Saturday touted his government’s work, while warning of refugees from Ukraine if war breaks out as campaigning starts for April elections.
The nationalist leader, who is aiming to win a fourth straight term in power in April 3 polls, faces his closest contest since taking the helm in 2010 after six opposition parties formed an electoral alliance to try to oust him.
“We are emerging stronger from the current crisis (the coronavirus pandemic) than we have entered into it,” Orban said in a national address.
e accused the opposition of “serious irresponsibility” when labelling the government a “dictatorship” and said if in power, they would mismanage the central European country.
“Not only the virus but also the left has attacked Hungary,” he said.
e also warned of “hundreds of thousands, or even millions” of refugees arriving from Ukraine, which shares a small land border with Hungary, should war break out.
Russia has been amassing troops close to Ukraine’s frontier raising fears of an invasion.
“The Russia-Ukraine conflict is urgent. Hungary’s interest: war must be avoided first and foremost,” he said.
Orban met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin on February 1, pledging cooperation with Moscow for years to come in a trip criticised by his EU allies and Hungary’s opposition.
The 58-year-old has friendly relations with Putin while presiding over deteriorating ties with Brussels.
ungary, which joined NATO in 1999 and the EU in 2004, has not echoed the general EU alarm over Russia’s troop buildup near Ukraine.
ungarian Defence Minister Tibor Benko said early this month that leaders should shy away from “Cold War rhetoric” and there was “no need for 1,000 NATO soldiers to come to Hungary and be stationed here permanently”.
NATO is seeking to bolster its eastern flank with additional allied troops and equipment being sent to Bulgaria, Poland and Romania.