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Center-right Fidesz party sweeps to victory in Hungary

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Change is in the air in Hungary
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Fidesz won 263 of the 386 seats in parliament. The Socialists won 59
  • A second round of balloting was held in 57 constituencies where no clear winner emerged
  • Fidesz promising tax cuts, new jobs to address Hungary's economic problems
  • Hungary was forced to take $27 billion loan in 2008 from the IMF to keep its economy afloat
RELATED TOPICS
  • Hungary
  • Central Europe

(CNN) -- Hungary awoke Monday to a new political landscape after the center-right opposition Fidesz party took decisive election victory, ending eight years of Socialist rule.

Fidesz won two-thirds of the votes in Sunday's second round of parliamentary elections, gaining 263 of the 386 seats -- enough to allow it to govern without forming alliances.

Fidesz leader Viktor Orban characterized the vote -- which also saw gains by the far-right -- as a "revolution" in the Eastern European country that was under Soviet control from 1945 to 1991.

"Today there was revolution in the polling booths," Fidesz leader Viktor Orban told a crowd of supporters, according to Hungary's MTI news agency.

"Hungarians have overthrown the system and created a new one. The old system of leaders misusing their power was replaced by one of national unity."

While the Socialist party took second place with 59 seats, it was closely followed by the far-right Jobbik party, making its parliamentary debut.

Jobbik has come under international criticism for what many perceive as anti-Semitic statements and for its verbal attacks on the country's gypsy, or Roma, minority.

Ahead of the vote, the Socialists has seen their support dwindle as they struggled to push through a broad reform program, tackling the country's education and health care systems.

Their problems were compounded when the global recession hit Hungary hard. In late 2008, it had to borrow $27 billion from the International Monetary Fund as unemployment climbed into the double digits and the economy shrunk.

The party was also derailed by scandals and accusations of corruption.

In 2006, Hungarian radio played a leaked tape where former Prime Minister and Socialist Party member Ferenc Gyurcsany admitted that his party lied to the public to win that year's general election.

Journalist Fanny Facsar contributed to this report.