Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party was suspended by the main pan-European, center-right European People’s Party on Wednesday, amid controversy over democracy and the rule of law in his country.
“Fidesz will be suspended with immediate effect and until further notice following today’s vote of EPP members (190 in favour, 3 against),” EPP President Joseph Daul said on Twitter.
According to Daul, the suspension means Fidesz party members will be denied attendance at party meetings, will lose voting rights or the right to propose candidates for posts.
The vote was called due to growing concerns over the party and Orban’s alleged infringement on the rule of law in Hungary.
Orban, who won a third consecutive term in power last year, has previously locked horns with EU leaders over his country’s hardline immigration policies and for clamping down on democratic institutions – including civic organizations, the media and academic institutions – as he consolidated his power.
EPP members voted to suspend Fidesz after the party put up billboards insinuating a conspiracy between European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the billionaire George Soros.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Fidesz party had said it would leave the EPP if its membership was suspended.