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Fidesz still number one, TISZA strong second

June 11th, 2024

An independent analyst believes that Sunday’s municipal and European elections have opened a new era in Hungarian politics.

Fidesz won the European Parliamentary elections by a large margin but its lowest percentage (44.5%) since Hungary joined the EU 20 years ago. Péter Magyar’s brand-new TISZA party got just under 30 percent of the ballots. The left-wing alliance sank to unprecedented lows (8 %). In municipal elections, Fidesz remains dominant, gaining four cities while losing three, and only getting 30% in the capital. Left-wing candidate Gergely Karácsony was re-elected Budapest Mayor, but with the narrowest possible margin of 324 votes against Dávid Vitézy, who ran as independent, supported by the LMP. Two days before the election, Fidesz withdrew its own candidate in Vitézy’s favour. Mayoral ballots will be re-counted in Budapest.

Index quotes an analysis by political scientist Gábor Török who believes that after Sunday’s election, all major stakeholders will have to reckon with Péter Magyar as their main opponent. The government side has now, for the first time for 14 years, a rival who ‘almost plays in the same league’, while the traditional opposition parties are facing an existential threat as a result of his sudden success. Péter Magyar will of course have a hard time converting his popularity into a proper political party with a network of grassroot organisations, Török remarks. Meanwhile, he adds, Fidesz may rightly see a dangerous opponent in TISZA, especially since the government will probably be forced to conduct stricter economic politics than hitherto, if it wants to prevent the budget deficit from spiraling out of control.

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