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Fót by-election: have most voters lost all confidence in political elites?

November 27th, 2013

The leading left-wing daily writes that although the opposition candidate won the Fót municipal by-election, the turnout indicates a complete loss of voter confidence rather than a victory for the opposition.

The municipal by-election in Fót was won by a narrow margin by an opposition candidate backed by the MSZP, Together-PM  and DK, ahead of two independent candidates. The candidate backed by the local Fidesz party, harmed by years of infighting came fourth. The turnout was just under 30 per cent  –a figure not unusual in local by-elections. Jobbik accused the Socialists of transporting voters to the polling stations. Similar charges were levelled against Fidesz in Baja (see BudaPost September 26) upon which the voting had to be repeated in one polling station..

In her Népszabadság comment Judit N. Kósa suggests that despite speculation to the contrary (MSZP leader Attila Mesterházy touted the election as a sign that Fidesz can be beaten by an opposition alliance), the outcome of the by-election does not forecast a victory for the opposition in 2014. It isn’t difficult to beat Fidesz where “there is no Fidesz left” and where the pro-government candidate is backed by a non-existent, albeit loud campaign (the local branch of the association behind the so-called peace marches of the past two years). Kósa thinks the opposition simply had a lucky day. If there is a lesson, it is the low turnout, she concludes; a few months before the national elections only a third of voters cast their votes, indicating a general disappointment with “Hungarian political life as it is”.

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