Parliamentary elections in Hungary will take place on April 6, the president said Saturday, with right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban on course to be re-elected, according to polls.
"With the authority invested in me by the constitution, I set the day of April 6 for the next parliamentary elections," President Janos Ader said. The election had been expected for April or May.
Last week the three main centre-left opposition parties announced a pact aimed at beating Orban, selecting the head of the Socialists, Attila Mesterhazy, as their candidate for prime minister.
But they face a tough task beating Orban, 50, who despite being a divisive figure -- critics at home and abroad accuse him of being autocratic -- remains popular and has been boosted by an improving economy.
According to a Sonda-Ipsos survey from early January, Orban's Fidesz party, which won a two-thirds majority at the last election in 2010 in the European Union member state, has 48 percent support.
The Socialists were on 27 percent and fellow left-wing parties E14-PM and DK each on five percent, although the poll was conducted before the opposition alliance was announced.
The far-right, anti-Roma and openly anti-Semitic Jobbik party was in third place on 11 percent.