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Hungarians vote for new Parliament

HUNGARY: Hungarians went to the polls to vote in the first round of Parliamentary elections.

Polling stations opened at 6 am and will close at 7 pm. There are over eight million eligible voters in the country, which has a population of 10 million. Pollsters predict a 58-60 percent turnout.

A total of 176 of the 386 seats in the Parliament go to individual candidates while the others are divided on the basis of party choices.

Therefore, each voter casts two ballots, one for a candidate and the other for a party. Individual candidates must get over 50 percent of the votes in each constituency to win a seat.

A run-off election to be held in two weeks will distribute the remaining individual seats, but most of the party seats will be divided up after the first round.

The latest pre-election polls on Thursday predicted a landslide victory for center-right Fidesz, a party that has been in opposition for the past eight years.

It might even garner a two-thirds majority, said polls, enabling it to amend the constitution and change other fundamental laws.

The Socialists, who have been in power for eight years, will finish a distant second or even third, according to a poll.

Seen by many as responsible for the country's economic woes which culminated in borrowing 20 billion euros from the IMF, the World Bank and the European Union, they are likely to get only one-third of the votes going to Fidesz.

The far-right Jobbik party will do almost as well as the Socialists, according to a Gallup poll, and another party predicted to make into parliament is the small green LMP.

On Wednesday, the "Point of View" Institute predicted that Fidesz would garner 284 of the 386 seats in the parliament, while the Socialists would get 50, Jobbik 37 and LMP 15. The "Republikon" Institute estimated that Fidesz would get 267, the Socialists 62, Jobbik 47 and LMP 10. Budapest, Sunday, Xinhua

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