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Elections

Prime Minister Orban set for win as Hungary goes to the polls

Hungarians are voting in parliamentary elections on Sunday. While a win appeared to be a foregone conclusion for Prime Minister Viktor Orban, most eyes will be on the race for second place.

Hungarian voters headed to the polls Sunday in parliamentary elections expected to strengthen the position of the country's ruling right of center government. By around 3:00 p.m. (1300 UTC), around 45 percent of Hungary's 8 million voters had turned out.

Ahead of the election, one poll showed conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban's (pictured above) Fidesz party enjoying as much as 51 percent of the vote - with many of his opposition divided.

However, the question of who might emerge as parliament's second-largest group remains open.

A center-left coalition of five left-wing groups led by Attila Mesterhazy and his Socialist Party has so far been unable to win over voters. In polls, it languishes in a distant second place, on 23 to 28 percent.

Meanwhile, the far-right Jobbik party - which, with its anti-Roma agenda is the third largest in parliament- has seen a surge in support, taking up to 20 percent of the vote.

Jobbik is expected to make gains, with one poll suggesting that the race for second place is now neck and neck.

Jobbik's leadership has sought to tone down its extremist image and appeal to a younger section of the electorate, using social media like Facebook as election tools. The party has some 250,000 "likes" on Facebook, while the far more powerful Fidesz - in second place on the site - has 160,000.

rc,dr/ipj (AP, AFP, dpa)