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Karácsony and Márki-Zay cannot run in tandem

October 7th, 2021

Jobbik’s founder and former leader – now a political analyst – suggests that since the two mayors cannot run together for the title of opposition prime ministerial candidate in next year’s election, Márki-Zay should withdraw his nomination to let Karácsony win the opposition primary.

The request of the mayors of Budapest and Hódmezővásárhely to run in tandem and have their names bracketed together on the ballot sheet was swiftly rejected by the committee overseeing the primary. (For the antecedents, see BudaPost, October 6.) Their request followed a Publicus opinion poll that found such a solution their only chance to easily beat DK candidate Klára Dobrev in the run-off. The committee told them that they should decide if either intends to withdraw by noon on Saturday, as the voting will start on Sunday. Meanwhile Medián pollster company reported a shift in the popularity of the two Mayors, with Márki Zay just 4 percentage points behind Dobrev (33 vs 37 per cent) and Karácsony lagging behind (with 24 per cent among potential opposition voters). The poll was taken before the ‘tandem’ scheme was proposed and then rejected.

In an opinion column on Index, Gábor Vona, the founder of Jobbik who left his party after its electoral defeat in 2018, lists five reasons why Márki-Zay should step aside and thus help Karácsony win the second round of the primary. He agrees that the conservative Christian candidate fared surprisingly well in the first round. Nevertheless, he argues, tradition requires the number 3 to step back in favour of the number 2, not the other way round. Secondly, statesmanship requires a candidate to realise that by stubbornly demanding that the other should withdraw, one would solidify the dividing lines between their followers and impair their chances to win in the general election next year. Thirdly, Many of Karácsony’s left-wing voters would abstain in the second round rather than voting for a right-winger, if their candidate stepped back. Fourthly, voters will seek an antipode to PM Orbán with his dominant personality, and Mr Karácsony, with his compromising attitude, may fit that bill more comfortably than Mr Márki-Zay. Fifth, Vona urges the two to make up their minds quickly because hesitation may only harm their chances.

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