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Hungary's Ruling Party to Move Ahead with Anti-migration Laws Following Victory


Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban addresses supporters after the announcement of the partial results of parliamentary election in Budapest, April 8, 2018.

Hungary's ruling party says it will seek to limit the ability of civic groups to help migrants, a day after Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban won an overwhelming election victory on an anti-migration platform.

Officials with the ruling Fidesz party say parliament will take up new laws targeting the advocates for migrants and refugees as early as May when it reconvenes.

The draft laws would force civic groups who help migrants to get approval from the interior ministers to operate and would impose a 25 percent tax on foreign donations to such groups.

Orban's Fidesz party and its Christian Democrat allies won a two-thirds majority in parliament for the third straight time in Sunday's elections.

Orban largely campaigned on an anti-migration platform, warning that Muslim migration "is like a rust that slowly but surely would consume Hungary."

Election monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said Monday that "media bias" in favor of Hungary's ruling party made it hard for opponents of the prime minister to compete with him on a level playing field. It said the public broadcaster "clearly favored the ruling coalition."

In a statement, the OSCE said voters in Hungary had a "wide range of political options," but said "intimidating and xenophobic rhetoric" along with media bias made it hard for the country to have a "genuine political debate."

The group acknowledged that the technical process of organizing the vote was professional and transparent.

Both the European Union and the United Nations expressed alarm during Hungary's election campaign at its anti-immigration tone.

The prime minister has often found himself at odds with the European Union and has accused the bloc of trying to take Hungary away from Hungarians and dilute European culture.

Hungary has built border fences and passed laws aimed at keeping it from becoming a route for migrants heading into Western Europe from places such as Syria and Afghanistan.

Although many Hungarian voters said they were concerned about migration, most said they were more interested in fighting corruption, poverty, and improving health care.

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