Hungary’s right-wing populist president Viktor Orban won reelection during a busy weekend of global elections and mass protests in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
The first weekend of April saw two presidential elections in Europe go well for pro-Putin figures, a presidential election in Latin America, along with significant political shakeups in Southeast Asia.
- Viktor Orban, the right-wing populist president of Hungary popular with segments of the American right, won a landslide reelection victory over a coalition of opposition parties and criticized Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky in his victory speech.
- Orban, a “self-styled illiberal democrat,” is the most pro-Putin EU leader and has strained relationships with the European Union and his close neighbors in Eastern Europe.
- To Hungary’s south, Serbia’s pro-Russian right-wing president Aleksandar Vucic won a second term with nearly 60 percent of the vote.
- Serbia, almost alone among European nations, has stood by Russia after its invasion of Ukraine and even with growing allegations of brutal war crimes against civilians.
- Pakistan’s anti-American prime minister Imran Khan, a former cricket star, dissolved the legislature before a no-confidence vote he was expected to lose and called for new elections.
- Pakistan’s supreme court will rule on the legality of Khan’s maneuver, which threw the Southeast Asian nuclear power and erstwhile American frenemy into political turmoil.
- To the south, Sri Lanka was wracked with massive protests that prompted most of the government to resign, but president Gotabaya Rajapaksa still clings to power.
- The island nation off the coast of India is undergoing an economic crisis and holding onto a fragile peace after decades of brutal civil war ended in 2009.
- Moving east, Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam announced she would not seek a second term. Lam’s five-year term saw increased domination by mainland China and significant erosion of Hong Kong’s democracy and civil liberties. She is expected to be succeeded by another pro-Beijing stooge.
- Closer to home, former World Bank economist Rodrigo Chaves will be the next president of Costa Rica. The conservative former finance minister defeated left-leaning ex-president Jose Figueres Ferrer.
- The New York Times attributed Carrie Lam’s decision to forego reelection in Hong Kong to her failure to effectively handle the city’s response to COVID-19.
- The Guardian observed that Imran Khan wants to keep power in Pakistan at any cost, with ramifications for the region and the world due to Pakistan’s status as a nuclear power.
- CNN outlined the ramifications of Orban’s reelection victory in Hungary for his country, the EU and the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.
- Fox News wrote about Pakistan’s political turmoil in greater detail, including more background information on Khan’s history of anti-Americanism and Pakistan’s relations with the United States.
- The Wall Street Journal covered the Costa Rican election, where new president Chaves won election despite sexual harassment claims that have limited his access to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund facilities.
- The Epoch Times provided more background on Carrie Lam’s decision to not seek reelection as Hong Kong’s leader.
© Dominic Moore, 2022