State Department Spokesman Casts Doubt On Foreign Country’s Election After Conservative Candidate Wins

(Screenshot/State Department)

Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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State Department spokesman Ned Price said Monday that the re-election of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban was marred by media bias and an unfair campaign finance landscape.

Orban was re-elected Sunday with his right-wing Fidesz party winning 135 of 199 seats in parliament, with about 53% of the popular vote. Price noted that, by all appearances, the election was competitive and administered fairly, but raised other concerns the U.S. would like Hungary to address.

“We concur with what we have heard from the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) … Hungary’s parliamentary elections offered voters distinct alternatives and were well-run,” Price answered when asked by Associated Press reporter Matt Lee if “congratulations were in order” for Orban.

“We also note ODIHR’s (the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights) findings that while competitive and well-administered, the elections were marred by the pervasive overlapping of government and ruling coalition’s messaging that blurred the lines between state and party, as well as by media bias and opaque campaign funding resulting in the lack of a level playing field,” he continued.

Fidesz gained two parliamentary seats and about 5% in the popular vote from the previous election in 2018. In a victory speech, Orban said “We won a victory so big that you can see it from the moon, and you can certainly see it from Brussels.” (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Here’s Why Hungary Is Incentivizing Children, Marriage)

The nationalist Hungarian leader, who has been prime minister since 2010 following a prior stint from 1998-2002, has garnered increased positive attention from American conservatives in recent years for his socially conservative, anti-immigration, anti-European Union governance. Simultaneously, American liberals and European officials have accused the Orban government of cracking down on civil liberties and free expression in an authoritarian manner.