Hungary’s united democratic opposition announces election slate and is boosted by polls

Hungarian voters, spanning from Hungary to across the ocean in Canada, will head to the voting booths on April 3rd, 2022. And after 12 years in power, democratically-minded Hungarians will seek to end Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s authoritarian, corrupt and singularly cynical rule. What makes this national election different than the last three in which Mr. Orbán’s Fidesz party claimed easy victories is that the opposition parties are not only running a truly unified election campaign, but they are proving fairly self-disciplined in their messaging too. Frankly, this is something of a marriage of convenience — having the Democratic Coalition and the Hungarian Socialist Party sharing a table with Jobbik, no matter how much the latter has moderated, is awkward. And Péter Márki-Zay, the united opposition’s candidate for prime minister, wouldn’t have been a natural partner to left-centre parties a few years ago. But the Hungarian opposition is proving itself disciplined and on-message in this campaign. It needs that desperately, as the decks are still stacked against any party other than Fidesz — thanks to jerrymandering, a blatant media bias against the opposition and a public service that is mostly the ruling party’s propaganda wing.

Today, with the backdrop of a brutal war merely 600 kilometres from Hungary’s eastern border, the opposition announced its joint slate of candidates running on the national list. That list is headed by Mr. Márki-Zay of Unified for Hungary (Egységben Magyarországért), who hopes to become Hungary’s new prime minister. Second in line is Klára Dobrev of the Democratic Coalition. The third place has been given to Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony, who is supported jointly by Dialogue for Hungary, the Hungarian Socialist Party and Lehet Más a Politika (Politics Can Be Different — LMP). The fourth spot is for Péter Jakab of Jobbik, the fifth for András Fekete-Győr of Momentum and the sixth for Socialist Bertalan Tóth. He is followed in the seventh spot by Péter Ungár of LMP, former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány of the Democratic Coalition in eighth place, Jobbik Vice President Dániel Z. Kárpát in ninth and Ágnes Vadai of the Democratic Coalition in tenth. Further down the national list, but still very likely to win a seat in parliament are: Zsolt Molnár (Socialist), Márton Tompos (Momentum), Kolomon Brenner (Jobbik), Erzsébet Gy. Németh (Democratic Coalition) and member of the Roma community Sándor Berki (Dialogue for Hungary).

Péter Márki-Zay on February 24, 2022 in front of the Russian embassy in Budapest. Source: Facebook

Overall, the first 45 names on the joint slate include politicians from the following parties:

  • Democratic Coaliton: 14
  • Jobbik: 12
  • Hungarian Socialist Party – Dialogue: 8
  • Momentum: 8
  • Lehet Más a Politika: 3

The opposition is making space for at least 3 politicians of Roma origins. What this means is that Jobbik, the Democratic Coalition and Momentum each ensured that one of their candidates is from the Roma community.

According to the last national opinion poll published by Republikon Intézet on January 28, 2022, the Hungarian opposition is closer than ever before in 12 years to unseating the Orbán government. Fidesz has 41 percent support, while Unified for Hungary stands at 40 percent. The satirical Two-Tailed Dog Party is at 3 percent and the far-right Mi Hazánk stands at 2 percent. Fourteen percent of respondents were undecided.

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