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Monday, October 18, 2021

Budapest mayor pulls out of opposition primary

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BUDAPEST — Gergely Karácsony withdrew from the race to become the Hungarian opposition’s candidate for prime minister on Friday, endorsing conservative rival Péter Márki-Zay.

A group of six opposition parties plans to run together in Hungary’s parliamentary election in 2022 in an effort to defeat Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, and has organized primaries to select joint candidates both in individual electoral districts and for the post of prime minister. 

Karácsony, a liberal-leaning politician with green credentials serving as mayor of Budapest, pulled out of the competition after he lost the first round of the primary to European Parliament Vice President Klára Dobrev, a member of the left-liberal Democratic Coalition. 

“Given last week’s political developments, I decided to withdraw my candidacy,” the Budapest mayor tweeted.

Dobrev took 34.8 percent of the vote in the first round of voting, while Karácsony garnered 27.3 percent. Márki-Zay, a conservative father of seven who serves as mayor of the southern city of Hódmezővásárhely, took 20.4 percent. 

The Budapest mayor opted to back Márki-Zay in the second round, which will take place between October 10 and October 16, after two opinion polls published this week showed Márki-Zay enjoys broader support than the Budapest mayor.

Karácsony’s decision is part of an effort to prevent Dobrev from becoming the opposition’s lead candidate. 

While the MEP is known as a highly energetic campaigner with a devoted following among a segment of liberal and left-wing voters, some opposition figures fear that Dobrev — who is married to former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány — is too divisive to appeal to undecided voters and right-leaning Hungarians who have grown disenchanted with Orbán. 

Momentum, a centrist political party belonging to the Renew Europe group in the European Parliament, announced on Thursday it is endorsing Márki-Zay. 

Karácsony wrote on Friday that Márki-Zay “proved his integrity, his broad appeal across Right & Left, and he can beat Orban in 2022.”

“Change is coming” to Hungary, he added.

HUNGARY NATIONAL PARLIAMENT ELECTION POLL OF POLLS


For more polling data from across Europe visit POLITICO Poll of Polls.

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