Foreigner Marki-Zay hopes to blunt Orban attacks in 2022 Hungarian election – .

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Foreigner Marki-Zay hopes to blunt Orban attacks in 2022 Hungarian election – .


Opposition candidate for Prime Minister Peter Marki-Zay waits at election headquarters after the opposition primary elections in Budapest, Hungary on October 17, 2021. REUTERS / Bernadett Szabo

BUDAPEST, Oct. 17 (Reuters) – Peter Marki-Zay, the mayor of a small town who will face Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Hungary’s 2022 election, believes his conservative character as a father will let nationalist Orban flounder in the next year’s vote.

Marki-Zay beat left-wing leader Klara Dobrev in an opposition primary on Sunday in a major upheaval as only two of six opposition parties backed him before the vote.

Aged 49, father of seven, graduated in economics, marketing and engineering, he made a name for himself by winning a city hall competition in 2018 in his hometown, stronghold of the ruling Fidesz party.

Presenting himself as an acceptable choice for both left-wing and conservative voters, Marki-Zay had said the opposition had no chance of defeating Orban with Dobrev, the wife of former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany, one of the most controversial figures in Hungarian politics.

“This (contest) is about whether we will be free,” Marki-Zay said at a press conference after left-wing Budapest mayor Gergely Karacsony withdrew from the race in his favor last week. .

“Whether Hungary remains a European country or whether it sinks. It loses its trace and turns east, becoming a corrupt dictatorship, from which its own people flee.

Marki-Zay’s image of fatherhood and his Catholic faith, which fits well with the ideology adopted by Orban, could make it more difficult for Fidesz to vilify him, as the ruling party has portrayed the left-wing candidates in vying as the puppets of Gyurcsany.

“If I were to win the candidacy, (Fidesz) would have to throw away all of his playbooks,” said Marki-Zay, criticizing Orban’s past maneuvers, which saw the 58-year-old prime minister go from fiery liberal to a self-proclaimed nationalist defender of Christian values.

Marki-Zay, founder of the Hungarian Movement for All (MMM), has pledged to jail those responsible for what he called “theft from state coffers” and pledged to rewrite the constitution of Orban via a referendum.

He is also seeking to overturn laws that helped cement Orban’s power and restore autonomy to local governments. Marki-Zay has also said he will adopt the euro.

Only the Left Momentum and Socialists officially endorsed Marki-Zay ahead of the second round, while others hedged their bets, saying they would back the eventual winning candidate.

Reporting by Gergely Szakacs; Editing by Toby Chopra

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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