Hungarian opposition closer to uniting in key Budapest electoral district

On Easter Monday, six days before national elections, András Fekete-Győr of Momentum announced that he was withdrawing his candidacy in Central Budapest in favour of Márta Naszályi of the Hungarian Socialist Party – Párbeszéd alliance (MSZP-P)–the strongest opposition candidate. Mr. Fekete-Győr followed in the footsteps of Péter Juhász of Együtt, who withdrew last week. Central Budapest, known in Hungarian as the Belváros, is what one could call a swing riding. It is currently held by Fidesz, but can be won by the left-centre opposition if there is a single candidate. It is one of those ridings where the left-centre and liberal parties do not need to strike an alliance with Jobbik to beat Fidesz. As it stands there is only one candidate who stands in the way of what could very possibly be an opposition victory in this electoral district–namely Antal Csárdy of Politics Can Be Different (LMP).

Based on the results of an opinion poll commissioned by Momentum prior to its decision to withdraw from the race in this district, the party/candidate standings in Central Budapest were (without Mr. Fekete-Győr’s candidacy and also assuming that LMP withdraws in the coming days):

  • István Hollik (FIDESZ): 33%
  • Márta Naszályi (MSZP-P): 29%
  • Pál Losonczy (Jobbik): 10%

The local poll includes 1,200 responses collected by Medián. A larger than usual number of Hungarians who are concealing their voting intentions will make the difference in this electoral district, as well as in many others both in Budapest and across Hungary.

“It is the duty of every candidate to demolish the Fidesz regime and to accomplish this, we must also defeat István Hollik in Central Budapest,” remarked Mr. Győr-Fekete, after withdrawing.

Gergely Karácsony and Márta Naszályi

To give our readers a taste of the distasteful language and narrative used in the Fidesz media, after Momentum’s candidate withdrew, Origo’s headline read: “After the demise of the woman-beater Juhász, Fekete-Győr obeyed Soros.” Origo calls Mr. Fekete-Győr “pathetic as usual” and refers to him as a “little boy in a middle school drama class performing on Mother’s Day.” As always, no journalist from Origo gave his/her name to this thoroughly repulsive article. Origo’s journalists incorrectly believe that they will have a future as journalists in an eventual post-Orbán Hungary, despite their track record.

But the fact that Origo was so vicious in its anonymous article following Mr. Fekete-Győr’s withdrawal is telling. Fidesz and the ruling party’s servile media know that widespread withdrawals among opposition candidates across the country in favour of the most popular Anybody-But-Fidesz candidate can push Fidesz into minority territory on 8 April. Gergely Karácsony, the candidate for prime minister for the Socialists and Párbeszéd, promised that more withdrawals are coming on Tuesday and Wednesday.

6 Comments

  1. StrandedinSopron says:

    “Origo’s journalists incorrectly believe that they will have a future as journalists in an eventual post-Orbán Hungary, despite their track record.”

    I do wonder when they go home, how they feel about their day’s work? Proud? For sure, most of the guys working there are simply not very intelligent propagandists merely parroting what Fidesz HQ has sent down- the low point arrived when HQ ordered the cinema reviewer to work in an anti-refugee comment into his review…to his credit he refused and resigned

    However, there are also some (admittedly not many) actual real qualified journalists still working there, how can they live with themselves professionally? Money solves all moral dilemmas?

    Having said all that, it is useful as a mirror into the Fidesz thinking and soul, a bit like reading Pravda in the old soviet times.

  2. The political culture of Hungary after Horthy, Kádár and Orbán, is as elastic as a worn out rubber band. Everybody knows, that a slow train is coming on April 8th. This election will be a momentous reckoning, whatever way it goes. I would cast a ballot, than put on a crash helmet, stand back quickly, as far away from the the right of way as possible, in order not to be sideswiped by the ensuing crash. If I may be allowed the use of the vernacular, (the children are at school) Fidesz is shitting bricks. But so is everyone nowdays in Hungary. Though it is Spring the winter of the people’s discontent is just around the corner.

  3. “To give our readers a taste of the distasteful language and narrative used in the Fidesz media, after Momentum’s candidate withdrew, Origo’s headline read: “After the demise of the woman-beater Juhász, Fekete-Győr obeyed Soros.” Origo calls Mr. Fekete-Győr “pathetic as usual” and refers to him as a “little boy in a middle school drama class performing on Mother’s Day.””

    I don’t see anything worse here compared with the content in articles published on this site. Of course, this is different because the things written in your articles are the “truth”!

    The simple fact that you always refer to Hungary’s government as a “regime”, meaning that it is basically a dictatorship. Even the biased freedomhouse does not go as far, given that Hungary is classified as a free country.

    https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/freedom-world-2018

    Yes, only the “truth”. What bothers me the most is that you are smearing Hungary’s reputation in the process!

    • Hungarian Free Press says:

      The Hungarian government refers to itself as a regime (or a system, depending on your translation): Nemzeti Együttműködési Rendszer. As well, no opposition party in Hungary today speaks of a simple change in government. They speak of regime change. The reason they do so is because they pledge, if elected, to draft new election laws, a new constitution, to arrange for the removal of the current Chief Prosecutor, to totally transform the state of media (especially public media) and to confiscate the wealth, land and other assets of Fidesz politicians convicted of corruption. This is a plan for a regime change–of the likes last seen in 1989-90.

      • I don’t often hear or read of the government referring to itself as such, but I will take your word for it. Although, you write in English here and in the English language “regime” has automatic negative connotations that are inappropriate for use when describing a democratically elected government. As for the opposition, it is in its own best interest to vilify the current government as much as possible, but in my view this crosses the line, into the zone where they harm Hungary, which in my personal view automatically disqualifies them as a viable alternative.

        And no, there is no need for a plan for regime change, because Hungary is a democracy where the government is just as likely to be changed at the ballot box as it is in Canada. An invitation for regime change can often lead to outside intervention, where as we saw with Syria or Ukraine, the local population, the country and its economy can risk being greatly harmed. Within current global environment, I believe such harm is more or less permanent. Anyone who cares about Hungary & Hungarians should be opposed to any such talk.

        The reason that current governing party will not be changed this coming weekend has to do 100% with the fact that there is no clear viable alternative that tickles the fancy of the electorate compared with what they already have in place. You mentioned the fact that Hungary changed the district electoral system to first past the post? Well, is that not how Canada elects its entire parliament? At least in Hungary parties that get between 5-10% nationally still get to send some MPs. In Canada there have been instances where parties polling in that range were completely shut out, or others where a party getting 20% of the vote only received less than 1% of the seats. Does Canada need “regime change” then? Is it not a flawed democracy? Perhaps Donald Trump needs to order the “liberation” of Canada (and its resources)!

  4. Pingback: Tactical voting and the struggle to unite the Hungarian opposition in the 11th hour

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