Polls open for second round elections in Hungary

09:00, April 26, 2010      

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Polls opened on Sunday for the second round of parliamentary elections in Hungary.

Polling stations opened at 6 a.m. (0400 GMT) and are set to close at 7 p.m. (1700 GMT).

Candidates in Budapest and 12 counties are vying for 57 individual constituencies in the 386-seat parliament, with another 64 seats to be decided by the proportion of ballots.

Under Hungarian law, a candidate needs to win an absolute majority in the first round of voting to gain a seat, while in the second round a relative majority will suffice.

Conservative Fidesz already has a commanding lead with 206 seats -- an absolute majority -- it won in the first round of voting on April 11.

It has now set its sights on a two-thirds supermajority of at least 258 seats that would enable it to amend the constitution.

Fidesz officials said, with a two-thirds majority, they would change the election law, the law covering local governments, the law regulating the media and the issue of granting citizenship to ethnic Hungarians in neighboring countries.

The ruling Socialists, who were humiliated by winning only 28 seats in the first round of voting, warned that Fidesz would be uncontrollable with a supermajority.

However, the voters apparently think otherwise.

A midweek survey by pollster Nezopont Intezet found that 57 percent of voters thought allowing Fidesz to govern with a two-thirds majority was a good idea, while only 27 percent were against it.

Pollsters predict that Fidesz stands a good chance of winning the additional 52 seats.

Budapest balloting will be closely watched as the capital city, traditionally a Socialist stronghold, is made up of as many as 32 constituencies.

Fidesz candidates have already won outright in 11, and were leading in 20 constituencies. A change of heart on the part of Budapest residents could thwart Fidesz efforts.

Fidesz candidates were ahead in almost all of the 57 constituencies still up for grabs in the second round. The Socialists came in second in most places, with the far-right Jobbik party hot on their heels.

The small green LMP party, formed just a year ago, won 5 seats in the first round and is likely to more than double that under the proportional representation arrangements.

The National Elections Office is expected to announce preliminary results by 10 p.m. (2000 GMT). Final results will be ready by May 15 at the latest.

The new administration should be able to take office in late May.

Source: Xinhua


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