Sweeping left-wing victory in Budapest by-election — Major drop in Fidesz support

Fidesz support in a closely watched by-election in the Budapest district of Zugló has collapsed, with the left-wing opposition winning a sweeping victory. Bence Bitskey, the joint candidate for the Democratic Coalition, the Hungarian Socialist Party, the small Dialogue party and a local civic group garnered 790 votes, compared to just 404 for Fidesz. While the left won in this district by a mere 7 votes in 2014, just three years later they now have an overwhelming lead. This also means that the left will enjoy a majority on district council. The mayor’s office is already in the hands of leftist-green politician Gergely Karácsony of the Dialogue party.

When we look at the complete results, those of all parties, we see that the left’s victory truly was overwhelming:

  • Bence Bitskey (DK-MSZP-Párbeszéd): 790 votes
  • Zoltán Somodi (Fidesz-KDNP): 404 votes
  • Monika Drevenka (Együtt-Independent): 173 votes
  • Imre Tóth (Two-Tailed Dog Party): 109 votes
  • Balázs Gyula Csordás (LMP): 81 votes
  • Kolos Szentpáli (Munkáspárt) 6 votes

Bence Bitskey in the middle, with former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány to his right and Democratic Coalition party politicians.

In Budapest’s other by-election, in the 8th District’s poverty-stricken Magdolna negyed, Fidesz kept its seat, with locals electing Fidesz Deputy Mayor Mrs. Péter Sántha. The left was divided between two very different candidates–a rapper called Dopeman (his real name is László Pityinger), who gained fame when he toppled a fake statue of Viktor Orbán and kicked it in the head, and Lutheran minister Márta Bolba Román. These were the 8th District by-election results:

  • Mrs. Péter Sántha (Fidesz): 424 votes
  • László Pityinger (MSZP): 256 votes
  • Márta Bolba Román (Independent-Együtt): 183 votes
  • Péter Huszár (Jobbik) 55 votes
  • Péter Konczos (Munkáspárt) 6 votes

Had the left managed to run a single candidate in Magdolna negyed, we would have witnessed a second by-election victory for the opposition today. Fidesz has seen a significant drop in its support even here, despite the high visibility of its campaign and the dominance of the ruling party at city hall.  It appears that in the case of both by-elections, the low turn-out means that many Fidesz votes stayed at home on voting day.

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