Hungarian parliament to vote on Swedish NATO bid

Hungary's parliament is expected to ratify Sweden's NATO bid Monday, ending more than a year of delay that left fellow defence alliance partners furious as Ukraine fought off Russian troops.

Hungary remains the last obstacle to Stockholm's NATO membership after Türkiye ratified their request in January.

Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Sweden and neighbouring Finland applied to join NATO in May 2022.

Finland became the 31st member of the U.S.-led defence alliance last April.

But while Hungary repeatedly said it supported Swedish membership in principle, it kept prolonging the process by asking Sweden to stop "vilifying" the Hungarian government.

Budapest also accused Swedish officials of being "keen to bash Hungary" on rule-of-law issues.

After a meeting Friday between Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his Swedish counterpart Ulf Kristersson in Budapest, the nationalist leader announced progress.

"We have managed to clarify our mutual good intentions," Orban told journalists after signing a deal to acquire four Swedish-made fighter jets, expanding its existing fleet of 14 Jas-39 Gripen fighters.

Orban's nationalist Fidesz party -- whose ruling coalition with the Christian Democratic KDNP holds a two-thirds majority in parliament -- had already indicated it would support Sweden's bid.

All opposition parties except the far-right Our Homeland movement are in favour of ratification.

Lawmakers are therefore widely expected to greenlight the Nordic nation's bid in the parliamentary vote at around 4:20 pm (1520 GMT) Monday.

 Maintaining domestic popularity 

After Russia's invasion of Ukraine, most NATO members were keen to quickly approve the membership...

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