Budapest, Jan 11: Hungary will hold a general election on April 3, the president said Tuesday, with controversial right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban facing his toughest contest since coming to power in 2010.

Aiming to win a fourth consecutive term, the nationalist Orban is up against a united opposition alliance with most polls indicating a close race.

Orban remains popular at home despite accusations by critics that his centralising policies have steered Hungary towards authoritarianism.

His supporters say that he has reformed Hungary after decades of stagnation, and maintained the Central European EU member’s national sovereignty and Christian identity.

Since 2015 the 58-year-old has also become well-known abroad for his hardline anti-immigration policies, emerging with Poland as a fierce critic of EU policies in this and other areas.

At the last election in 2018 Orban’s Fidesz party, with its junior coalition partner the Christian Democrats, won around 48 percent of the vote, giving it 133 of the assembly’s 199 seats.

The result meant Fidesz retained the two-thirds “supermajority” it won in 2010 and 2014, enabling it to push major bills through parliament.

But for the first time since 2006 a Hungarian general election is unpredictable after the opposition joined forces to combat election rules introduced under Orban in 2012 that favour Fidesz.

In October a six-party alliance of opposition parties from left to right held its first ever primary to select single challengers versus Orban and Fidesz in all 106 electoral districts.