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Hungary election and referendum on LGBT issues in school comes amidst refugee crisis

Viktor Orbán faces a united opposition coalition in the parliamentary vote of 3 April. The war in Ukraine has strongly shaped the campaign. Serbia also holds elections.

AUTOR 5/Evangelical_Focus BUDAPEST 01 DE ABRIL DE 2022 11:11 h
Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary, faces parliamentary elections on 3 April 2022. / Photo: [link]EPP Flickr[/link], CC.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the huge exodus of refugees (over 4.1 million people) has completely changed the socio-political debates across Europe.

It is especially the case of countries like Hungary and France, which are holding important national elections these weeks.

On Sunday 3 April, a large coalition of six opposition parties will try to beat the long-standing Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his dominating party Fidesz-Hungarian Civic Union.

The Prime Minister condemned the invasion of Vladimir Putin but has presented himself as the “candidate of peace”, saying he supports more economic sanctions but not military support for Ukraine because “this is not Hungary’s war”.

The opposition is calling to do more to stop the influence of Russia and is calling the turn the election into a referendum about whether the country should align itself with the West (European Union and the NATO) or with the East.

Ukrainian refugees welcomed in bordering countries, 31 March 2022. / Sourche: UNHCR

[photo_footer]  Ukrainian refugees welcomed in bordering countries, 31 March 2022. / Source: UNHCR [/photo_footer] 

Over 374,000 refugees from Ukraine had arrived in Hungary by the end of March 2022. Evangelical churches are among those who have welcomed women and children. Dozens of churches have fed and hosted Ukrainians in the last weeks.


Referendum on LGBT materials in schools

Orbán, who has a large majority in the National Assembly (133 of 199 seats), has made changes to the Constitution on issues such as parenthood. His government is now also calling citizens to vote in a referendum on a new law that bans the use of materials promoting homosexuality and transgenderism in schools. The legislation is seen as a reaction to the pressure coming from the European Union in matters of LGBT policies in educational contexts. “This is about the right of the kids and the parents”, Orbán said in response to accusations of LGBTphobia.

The OSCE (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe) will monitor the election after seeing “partiality in the media and opaque funding of the electoral campaign”.


Serbia also voting on 3 April

Another country in the region, Serbia, is also calling its citizens to vote on 3 April. A super-election that will elect a new national parliament, new regional assemblies and the new head of state. Incumbent President Aleksandar Vucic will face both nationalistic and pro-European opposition candidates.





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