Election 2019

Orbán Lost Budapest

According to the latest results, Orbán’s candidate and current mayor of Budapest has lost his seat to the all-opposition candidate (50.62% vs. 44.29%)

Orbán’s Fidesz has also lost majority in the Budapest city council (18 mandates to the opposition, 13 to Fidesz, 2 independents).

Opposition candidates won mayoral seats in 14 out of Budapest’s 23 districts and 10 out of 23 major cities in Hungary. (Five years ago only 6 Budapest districts and 3 major cities went to non-Fidesz candidates.)

A data visualization by index.hu illustrates the new Budapest, where even some Fidesz (orange) districts have opposition-majority councils.

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Source: index.hu

The countryside remained Fidesz though. According to the data visualization of index.hu, Hungary now looks like this.

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According to index.hu’s calculation, approximately 3.5 million (out of 9.7) Hungarians now live in non-Fidesz towns. Source: index.hu

The participation was at an all-time high, but it appeared to cut both ways, influencing the results in either way in various districts.

It is the first and greatest success for the anti-Orbán opposition since 2010 and the biggest crack on Orbán’s system so far.

In his first reaction Orbán declared victory and promised to accept the decision of Budapest citizens and to cooperate (which is not what he was telling before the election when he visited most swing constituencies and threatened with migrants and stopping all development in case the Fidesz candidate doesn’t win.) The coming months will decide whether Orbán cracks down in revenge or tries to hit a more conciliatory tone with opposition cities.

The election appeared to be a clean and uneventful victory for Orbán until a whistleblowing website started leaking information about the alleged corruption of the Fidesz mayor of the city of Győr, complete with a sex tape where the politician is filmed using prostitutes and drugs on a yacht in Croatia. It has galvanized the opposition and caused a rare communication chaos in Fidesz in the days running up to the election.

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Orbán admits victory Photo: Németh Sz. Péter / Index.hu

The juiciest question on everyone’s mind was whether the infamous sex tape mayor would win again, despite the scandal. He did.

He slid into the voting booth in the last minutes of the election to avoid journalists who were waiting for him all day. But he doesn’t give us a victory speech.

The other factor that contributed to Orbán’s defeat was that for the first time in the Orbán-era, opposition parties managed to join forces in most towns and cities. Orbán’s election system makes it impossible to defeat his party if more than one opposition candidate competes. Fidesz was trying to dilute the list of candidates until the very last minute by bribing, intimidating and cajoling various figures to run, and opposition politicians to break rank and compete against one another.

This was the dirtiest campaign in the history of Hungarian elections, even before the sex tape scandal.

Post updated…

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