Pro-Orban media in Hungary push US vote 'fraud' claims

Pro-Trump supporters gathering on the steps of the Pennsylvania State Capitol on Nov 5, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

BUDAPEST (AFP) - Hungarian pro-government media outlets pushed unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud in the US election on Friday (Nov 6), with nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban also appearing to lend credence to the allegations.

"Huge tension in America over the many signs pointing to fraud," said a headline in the main pro-Orban news portal Origo.hu.

Outlets among the large swathes of Hungary's public and private media sector that follow a pro-Orban line have pushed a similar angle since Thursday, echoing US President Donald Trump's uncorroborated claims of fraud as his Democratic opponent Joe Biden closes in on victory.

An interviewer on public radio on Friday asked Mr Orban to comment on claims made by the Trump campaign that some votes had been cast on behalf of dead people.

Mr Orban replied the US can "no longer criticise others after such an election".

"If it happened in Hungary, what is happening there now, the sky would have fallen down - it's unthinkable," he said.

Describing Mr Trump as "Hungary's friend", he said that Hungary-US bilateral and economic relations have been in the "best shape ever" since Mr Trump came to power.

"I have always stood beside President Trump," he said.

In 2016, Mr Orban was the first European premier to endorse Mr Trump, and backed him for re-election in September.

When he visited Washington last year, Mr Trump praised the Hungarian as a leader "respected all over Europe" whose anti-immigration stance kept his country safe.

In contrast, Mr Biden last month cited Hungary while criticising Mr Trump's foreign policy.

"You see what's happened in everything from Belarus to Poland to Hungary, and the rise of totalitarian regimes in the world.. this president (Mr Trump) embraces all the thugs in the world," he said during an election campaign event.

The Obama administration, in which Mr Biden served as vice-president, had given Mr Orban the cold shoulder and warned against his clampdown on the judiciary, press, and civil society organisations.

The Obama administration also banned some Hungarian officials from entering the US over corruption allegations.

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