Hungarian opposition party to join European Parliament's centre-right bloc

  • World
  • Wednesday, 19 Jun 2024

FILE PHOTO: Peter Magyar, former government insider and leader of the Respect and Freedom (TISZA) Party, holds a Hungary flag as he speaks after the announcement of the partial results of the European Parliament and municipal elections, in Budapest, Hungary, June 10, 2024. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungarian opposition party Tisza will join the centre-right European People's Party bloc in the European Parliament, the party's leader Peter Magyar said on Tuesday.

The political newcomer has emerged as a new threat to Prime Minister Viktor Orban's iron grip on power with his promises to tackle state corruption and restore democratic checks and balances he says have been eroded during Orban's 14-year rule.

"We are happy that the EPP group just voted by 97% of the votes for our admission," Magyar told a news conference in Brussels.

His centre-right party won seven of Hungary's 21 seats in the European Parliament in Sunday's pan-EU election, more than the rest of Orban's other challengers combined. Orban's Fidesz and its small Christian Democrat allies won 11 seats, down from 13 before the election.

The EPP remains the European Parliament's largest grouping. Fidesz had also been in the EPP but they parted ways in 2021 over Orban's democratic track record and it has since remained outside of any other larger groupings.

Magyar will announce later on Tuesday whether he will take up his seat as an European MP, though he had indicated he would rather stay in Hungary and focus on laying the groundwork to defeat Orban in the next national election due in 2026.

(Reporting by Boldizsar Gyori; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)

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