Hungarians head to polls in parliamentary elections

Voters wait in long lines as Hungary chooses next government

Prime Minister Viktor Orban is seeking his third consecutive term and fourth overall. Orban, Hungary's longest-serving post-communist premier, opposes deeper integration of the bloc and - teaming up with Poland - has been a fierce critique of Brussels' policies.

Interim data at 1630 GMT showed voter turnout at 68.13 percent, exceeding final turnout in the past three elections. He had always voted for Fidesz and praised Orban's policy to support families.

Orban's opponents were cheered by the enthusiasm of Hungarians to vote. "This is when all those who want a change of government. ask all those who have yet to vote to by all means go and vote".

"A two-thirds victory is possible if neither side loses more than 10 districts and there is a difference of at least 20 percent between the victor and the runner-up", Gulyas said. "I think this is outside the category of reality".

Polls officially closed at 7 p.m., but anyone waiting in line at that time has the right to vote and could therefore still cast their ballot.

Analysts say his policies could have a long-lasting impact on the European Union.

But he added that since all parties, including Fidesz, had mobilized intensively, it did not necessarily mean Orban was threatened with defeat. "But this is not the time to sit back", Mr Vona said after voting in his home city of Gyonygyos in northern Hungary.

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"We have already explained everything that is at stake: we are not simply electing parties, government and prime minister, but also the future of our country", he said to reporters gathered around him after voting with his wife.

Over 3.3 million voters had taken part by 1 p.m. (1100 GMT), for a turnout rate of 42.3 percent six hours before the end of voting. He claims that the opposition is collaborating with the United Nations, the European Union and wealthy philanthropist George Soros to turn Hungary into an "immigrant country", threatening its security and Christian identity. The EU is in Berlin, in Budapest, in Warsaw, in Prague and in Bucharest.

He reiterated he would stand up for Hungary's interests and said Hungary was a loyal member of global organizations.

"Hungarian democracy is strong", Gergely Gulyas, the parliament faction leader for Orban's Fidesz party.

The surge in turnout was thought to likely favour the opposition Jobbik, a far-right party that has been moving towards the centre, and the centre-left Socialists.

Gabor Vona of the nationalist Jobbik party urged his supporters not to become complacent. That was the highest turnout figure for that hour since at least 1998. "Emigration may or may not define Hungary, and I would prefer that it does not". Steps included passing a new constitution over opposition protests, a crackdown on civil society groups, stacking state institutions with party loyalists and using the government's power to dominate media. He is also credited with keeping the budget deficit under control, reducing unemployment and some of Hungary's debt, and putting its economy on a growth track.

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