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Karácsony wins opposition mayoral primary

June 28th, 2019

Pro-government analysts predict that the infighting which has plagued the opposition will continue beyond the Budapest mayoral primary. A left-wing and a liberal pundit, on the other hand, hope that the primary has united the opposition behind a candidate that can successfully challenge Fidesz in the capital.

On Wednesday, Gergely Karácsony of of the Dialogue party (Párbeszéd) who is also the candidate of the MSZP was announced as the winner of the opposition’s Budapest mayoral primary. Karácsony came in first with 49 per cent of the nearly 70,000 votes cast, followed by Democratic Coalition nominee Olga Kálmán (37 per cent) and Momentum’s Gábor Kerpel-Fonius (14 per cent).

Magyar Nemzet’s Gábor Baranyai describes the opposition primary for the Budapest mayoral election in the Autumn as another pathetic chapter of left-wing infighting. The pro-government columnist stresses that the turnout amounted to a mere 5 per cent of all Budapest voters, and thinks therefore that the results are not at all indicative of the Left’s popularity. Although DK leader Ferenc Gyurcsány pledged to endorse Gergely Karácsony, Baranyai takes it for granted that Gyurcsány is unlikely to halt his efforts to become dominant on the Left.

On 888, Ádám Forisek also predicts that the struggle for leadership will continue among the opposition parties. The pro-government blogger speculates that by nominating Olga Kálmán, the Democratic Coalition wanted to strike a blow against the MSZP. Karácsony’s victory saved the MSZP for the time being, but Forisek finds it unlikely that former PM Gyurcsány will give up what he believes is his aim, to completely destroy the MSZP, his former party.

Mérce’s András Jámbor finds it a great achievement that the opposition parties are lining up behind a joint candidate. The alt-left blogger contends that the Budapest mayoral election will be the first important election in which the opposition has a real chance to defeat Fidesz.  If the 70,000 individuals who cast their votes in the opposition primary help the opposition as activists in the Autumn municipal election then, Jámbor hopes, the opposition will win in Budapest.

On Index, Márton Kárpáti is confident that the primary has helped mobilize the Left. The liberal pundit acknowledges that the candidates put forward some unrealistic and demagogic promises but welcomes the fact that they also debated alternative policy visions. Such discussions, Kárpáti suggests, should be normal in a democracy. In a passing remark, he finds it strange that the government media is trying so hard to downplay the importance of the opposition primary.

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