Hungary's Orban retains two-thirds parliament majority

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban addresses a news conference after parliamentary elections in Budapest April 7, 2014. REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's party has retained its two-thirds majority in parliament, and with it the ability to change the constitution, according to a final tally of votes from last weekend's election published on Saturday. Close results in some constituencies had meant it was not clear whether the Fidesz party would reach the threshold of 133 of the 199 seats in parliament. By late Saturday, with 99.9 percent of votes counted, the National Election Office's website said Fidesz would have exactly 133 seats, the Socialist-led leftist alliance 38, and the far-right Jobbik party 23. An official final result is due to be announced by April 25. "Now it is certain that Fidesz will again have a two-thirds majority," said Peter Kreko, director of the political think tank Political Capital. "And this means that unorthodox policies will continue." Orban has clashed repeatedly with the European Union and foreign investors over his idiosyncratic policies, which have included big windfall taxes on banks, energy and telecoms firms to keep the budget deficit in check. His outgoing government used its constitutional majority to rewrite hundreds of laws, some of them 'cardinal laws' that will, in turn, require a two-thirds majority to be amended. Critics have accused Fidesz of curbing media freedom and democratic checks and balances, allegations it denies. In the past four years, Orban's policies have included a nationalization of private pension funds and a relief scheme for foreign currency mortgage holders for which the banks, mostly foreign-owned, had to pay. Orban has pledged more of the same policies if re-elected. Investors expect him in particular to implement a plan to transfer big chunks of the banking sector into Hungarian hands, and impose a greater burden on foreign power firms. Orban also wants to have more of the energy sector in state hands. Orban says his government has saved Hungary from financial collapse, but some of his measures and the unpredictability of policies have eroded investor confidence in recent years. (Reporting by Krisztina Than; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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