To make his transformation of Hungary “irreversible”, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said he needs another four years in power. This is why he accepted his ruling Fidesz party’s endorsement on November 12.

“We need to work for four more years to strengthen our achievements to the point that they are irreversible,” said Orban.

Orban, who has asserted control over the media and courts, and criticised efforts to deepen European integration, received a unanimous 1,358 votes at a party congress to remain Fidesz leader for two more years.

As reported by the Reuters news agency, elections are five months away and Orban leads all contenders.

“There is no mood for a change of government in Hungary, so much as a mood for a change of opposition,” Orban said to laughter and applause, referring to disarray within the centre-left.

The 54-year-old premier has been widely criticised by Western allies for eroding democratic freedoms, which he and Fidesz deny.

According to Reuters, however, Orban has become unassailably popular at home, especially since 2015, when Hungary became the main land route into the EU for around a million Middle Eastern migrants who crossed the Balkans on their way to Germany and other rich countries further north.

In his speech accepting his party’s endorsement, Orban said he was fighting against “globalist” views that threaten the EU’s Christian nations and their moral foundations, for which he blamed billionaire liberal philanthropist George Soros.

“Some countries in Europe decided to transcend Christianity and their own national character,” he said. “They want to step into a post-Christian, post-national era.”