Hungary's Orban expected to be returned on anti-immigrant platform

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has cast his vote at the parliamentary election expressing the ballot is about "Hungary's future". Orban came to power in 2010 and is seeking a third consecutive term.

The rightwing nationalist prime minister projected himself as a savior of Hungary's Christian culture against Muslim migration into Europe an image which resonated with millions of voters, especially in rural areas.

The nationalist leader's Fidesz party enjoys opinion poll leads of between 20 and 30 percentage points over its closest rival Jobbik, a far-right party led by Gabor Vona that has been moving towards the centre, and the leftist Socialists with their candidate Gergely Karacsony. "But this is not the time to sit back", Mr Vona said after voting in his home city of Gyonygyos in northern Hungary. Opposition parties are keen to make sure Mr Orban's bloc does not sweep to a super-majority in which the autocratic leader could easily push through constitutional changes.

Voters in Hungary are going to the polls in a general election on Sunday.

Pollsters think a high turnout could benefit the opposition.

Hungarian election officials say voter turnout in the country's parliamentary election 90 minutes before polls close has already exceeded the total turnout for the 2014 elections.

"As long as the opposition is in a fragmented state. this migrant/refugee campaign is sufficient to keep (Orban's) voting base united, to keep it mobilized", said Balazs Bocskei, political analyst at the Idea Institute, a Budapest think-tank.

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"Safety is first", said Julia Scharle, 27, holding her child outside the polling station where Orban cast his vote.

'We are celebrating democracy and it seems like this feast will be handsome because many of us are taking part, ' said Gergely Karacsony, the leading candidate of the left-wing Socialist and Dialogue parties.

Hungary's ruling Fidesz party was facing calls for an inquiry into alleged electoral irregularities after the Telegraph revealed how the country's diplomatic corps was being pressed into finding negative immigration stories to boost Viktor Orban's re-election campaign.

The fierce anti-immigrant campaign has gone down well with around two million core voters of Fidesz.

After casting his vote in a wealthy district of Budapest, he said he would stand up for Hungary's interests and said Hungary was a loyal member of global organizations.

He claims "that the European Union is not at Brussels".

Opposition parties have urged Hungarians to vote tactically for the opposition candidate with the best chance to defeat the Fidesz candidate in the 106 individual districts - but it is not clear how much impact that will have.

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