Hungary's governing Fidesz party loses supermajority

Budapest: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Fidesz party has lost the two-thirds supermajority it held in parliament since 2010, which allowed it to pass a new constitution and other legislation without input from the opposition.

The National Election Office said yesterday that Zoltan Kesz, an independent supported by the left-wing opposition parties, defeated Fidesz candidate Lajos Nemedi in a district centered on the city of Veszprem.

With 98 per cent of the votes counted, Kesz led Nemedi by 42.6 per cent to 33.6 per cent. A candidate for the far-right Jobbik party was third with 14.1 per cent.

Kesz said the result was a warning from voters to the governing parties, "because they will no longer accept the plundering of the country ... and millions being driven into poverty."

The election was needed because Fidesz's Tibor Navracsics, who won the seat in April, has since become a European Union commissioner.

Orban's Fidesz party and a much smaller ally have also used their supermajority in the 199-seat legislature to dominate institutions including the state media authority and the constitutional court by electing only government-backed nominees.

While "this result is totally unexpected for Fidesz," the opposition victory was largely symbolic because the government parties will be only one vote short of the supermajority, said Tamas Boros, an analyst at Policy Solutions.

Fidesz easily won three elections last year parliamentary, local elections and for the European parliament but unpopular proposals and laws since October have seen it
drop substantially in opinion polls.

The government abandoned a plan to tax Internet use after huge national protests but since adopted unpopular measures including forcing most shops to close on Sundays and greatly expanding the toll system for most roads.

The government also rejected investigating alleged corruption at the national tax office, though some of its officials have been banned from entering the United States because of the allegations.

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