Budapest mayor withdraws from opposition contest to face Hungarian Prime Minister Orban


Budapest mayor Gergely Karacsony, one of the contenders in the race to become the opposition co-candidate for prime minister, meets supporters in the first round of the opposition primary elections in Budapest, in Hungary, September 27, 2021. REUTERS / Bernadett Szabo

BUDAPEST, October 8 (Reuters) – Budapest mayor Gergely Karacsony on Friday dropped out of the race to be Hungary’s opposition candidate in next year’s national elections, saying he would back conservative Peter Marki-Zay in the aim to overthrow Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

The move could weaken the chances of Klara Dobrev, the left-wing Democratic Coalition candidate, who last week won the first round of the primary that will select the leader of the United Opposition for next spring’s elections. Read more

Karacsony came second in the primary, ahead of Marki-Zay, mayor of the southern Hungarian town of Hodmezovasarhely. Dobrev won 34.8% of the vote, Karacsony 27.3% and Marki-Zay just over 20% of the vote.

“I believe Peter Marki-Zay can unite the opposition,” Karacsony said, adding that Marki-Zay knew the campaign’s problems.

Orban’s ruling Fidesz party is traditionally strong in small towns and villages.

In next year’s parliamentary vote, Orban will face, for the first time since coming to power in 2010, a united front of opposition parties that also includes socialists, liberals and the ex-far right. – and now center-right – Jobbik.

Opinion polls put Orban’s nationalist party Fidesz and the opposition coalition neck and neck, pointing to the tightest elections in more than a decade.

The second round of the primary will take place from October 10 to 16, organizers announced on Sunday.

Reporting by Krisztina Than; Editing by Toby Chopra

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