Political outsider to run against Orban in Hungarian vote in 2022

Political outsider to run against Orban in Hungarian vote in 2022

A Hungarian political foreigner with no party affiliation will run against Prime Minister Viktor Orban in next year’s parliamentary elections after winning the second round of the opposition primaries on Sunday.
Small-town conservative Peter Marki-Zay defeated left-wing Klara Dobrev, who pledged to support him at the head of an alliance of six opposition parties.

“We can only win together,” Marki-Zay told enthusiastic supporters with his wife and seven children behind him.

“It was a battle, but we also have to win the war,” he said, referring to the 2022 elections.

The vote, which will determine the 199 seats in Hungary’s parliament, is expected to take place by April.

Dobrev conceded defeat and sided with his former opponent. “I wish him a lot of strength (…) in our efforts to overthrow Viktor Orban and then dismantle his regime,” he said at a press conference.

With final results due later on Sunday, Marki-Zay’s lead looked unassailable. With 60 percent of the votes counted, he led by a margin of around 58-42 percent.

Marki-Zay’s image of a father and Christian faith might appeal to many undecided voters. He has sought to present himself as an acceptable choice for both left-wing and conservative voters, campaigning to lead a coalition of the “clean” and promising to root out corruption.

Opinion polls show that Orban’s conservative Fidesz party and the opposition alliance are neck and neck.

Economist and engineer who lived in the United States and Canada for five years, Marki-Zay rose to prominence in 2018 when he won a mayoral competition in his southern hometown of Hodmezovasarhely, a stronghold of the Fidesz party. .

For the first time since coming to power in 2010, Orban will face a united front of opposition parties that includes socialists, liberals and the former far-right, now center-right, Jobbik.

While Orban has had a series of disputes with the European Union, Marki-Zay is looking to improve relations with Brussels and is in favor of Hungary’s adoption of the euro for the foreseeable future.


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