Mass Protests in Budapest Against Re-Election of Orban to a Third Term

People attend a protest against the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Budapest

A Hungarian magazine yesterday published more than 200 names of people it claims are likely part of a group that Prime Minister Viktor Orban calls "mercenaries" paid by US-Hungarian billionaire philanthropist George Soros to topple the government.

Protest organisers, mainly students who have led a series of demos this year, want a recount, a non-partisan public media service, fresh elections and for the opposition to unite.

The right-wing party placed itself far ahead of the nationalist Jobbik Party, which garnered 19 percent, and a Socialist-led center-left alliance, with 12 percent. Leftist opposition candidates carried two-thirds of the voting districts in Budapest. They also urged all opposition parties to be more cooperative.

In their Facebook post, the rally's organisers said: "Fidesz's election system and the government's hate campaign have pushed the majority into a one-third (parliamentary) minority".

BBC correspondent Nick Thorpe reported from Budapest that around 100,000 people attended Saturday's protests.

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Opponents of Mr Orban flooded the capital on Saturday to protest at what they say is an unfair electoral system.

In contrast to Orban's closing rally last week in his native Szekesfehervar, where the overwhelming majority of supporters were middle-aged and elderly people, the Budapest protest attracted many people from younger generations.

Asked about the prospect of forthcoming demonstrations, Mr Orban simply replied: "We won, that's it". "It is bad that they are so weak, unable to reach a compromise and they kill each other instead of joining forces for us".

Hungary's incumbent is deemed a controversial figure among European Union leaders, having built his platform on a hard-line anti-immigration position. Last month, he said the government knew of 2000 "Soros mercenary army" members, paid to "transform Hungary into an immigrant country".

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