Non-party mayor Peter Márki-Zay will challenge Prime Minister Orbán in the upcoming parliamentary elections in Hungary. Márki-Zay won in two rounds the primary elections of the common opposition parties, which united in a single anti-Orban front. In the second round, he beat Social Democrat and MEP Klára Dobrev with 56% of the vote.
Márki-Zay (49) thanked his supporters this evening. He promises to fight for a “new Hungary”, where “both left and right; Jews, gypsies and homosexuals ”are embraced with love. “Prime Minister Orban has reason to be afraid,” said the opposition leader.
Opposition parties from left to far right united last year to form a single anti-Orbán front, as individual parties were unlikely to win due to Hungary’s graduated district system. Orbán Fidesz’s united opposition list and right-wing populist party are already in the polls During months shoulder to shoulder.
Every Hungarian voter was allowed to vote for the leader of the list last week. Over 660,000 votes were cast. This also includes Fidesz voters, who could help decide who would be their own party leader’s challenger. In addition to a party leader, a common opposition candidate is also elected for each constituency.
Márki-Zay can safely be called a surprise winner in the opposition elections. With the lowest advertising budget of any candidate, he finished third out of five candidates in the first round, behind Dobrev and liberal Budapest mayor Gergely Karácsony. He seemed to have the best papers for the party leadership at the start, but Karácsony withdrew from the race after the first lap and expressed his support for Márki-Zay.
The non-partisan Márki-Zay is known to be moderate and conservative; he once described himself as a “disappointed Fidesz voter”. The father of seven is a newcomer to politics: after a career as an economist and marketer, he ran for mayor of his hometown in 2018: the Fidesz stronghold of Hódmezovásárhely in southern Hungary.
He managed to beat the Fidesz candidate. How? ‘Or’ What? Three different opposition parties have rallied to him.
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