Apr. 04 - Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban looks likely to win in parliamentary elections. But some of his policies have scared foreign investors, he's been accused of eroding democratic rights, and the EU appears unable to keep Hungary in check. Joanna Partridge reports
UPSOUND Asking for 4 more years. Hungary's Prime Minister Victor Orban is bidding for re-election in Sunday's vote. Unless there's a major upset, his Fidesz party is expected to win by a landslide, says Peter Kreko from think tank Political Capital. SOUNDBITE: Peter Kreko, Analyst at think tank Political Capital, saying (English): "They gained more than ten percent more support in the overall electorate just because of the utility price cuts and the communication of it." Orban claims he's saved the economy from a Greek-style pile of debt. The EU member state's been helped by the euro zone's recovery, says Jan Randolph from IHS Global Insight. SOUNDBITE: Jan Randolph, Director of Sovereign Risk, IHS Global Insight, saying (English): "Growth was just above one percent last year, a little bit more this year. In terms of saving the country from collapse, well I think a lot of the benefit Hungary has received is really down to exports to Germany." Orban's often viewed in the same way as other emerging market leaders like Turkey's Erdogan, or South Africa's Zuma, who are popular at home but unsettle the outside world. While leader, he's been accused by the European Union and the United States of eroding Hungary's democracy and harming free speech. It's not just his social policies which have been criticised - the IMF previously said he was risking financial stability. The government has raised taxes on sectors like energy and telecoms, where foreigners are dominant. SOUNDBITE: Jan Randolph, Director of Sovereign Risk, IHS Global Insight, saying (English): "The policies that the Orban administration have adopted have been quite erratic, and for longer term investors, quite disturbing. There have been a number of disturbing incidents when the government adopts policies which are illiberal, and they sound very much against the spirit of what the EU is about, which is an open, liberal, free, democratic organisation, as well as being part of a single market." The government says it's just a normal EU member with an average number of conflicts with Brussels and says its popularity is due to the improving economy. But Hungary opposed the EU's calls for sanctions on Russia over its intervention in Ukraine - as Orban hoped to clinch a nuclear deal with Moscow. The far-right, eurosceptic Jobbik is also expected to have a strong showing in Sunday's election. It's one of the nationalist parties, like France's National Front, which has gained support due to high unemployment and immigration - and is also expected to do well in May's European elections.