A number of democratic opposition candidates formally withdrew Saturday morning in favor of other opposition candidates deemed more likely to defeat rival Fidesz-KDNP candidates in Sunday’s general election.
Candidates wishing to have their names removed from the ballot had to officially notify local election offices by 11 am Saturday morning. According to index.hu, several candidates failed to notify local election offices in time, as a result of which their name will continue to appear on the ballot.
After months of prolonged discussions, in December MSZP and DK formally agreed not to run candidates in the same electoral districts. Subsequent attempts to include LMP, Momentum, and, until recently, Együtt in this agreement failed.
After the favored Fidesz candidate was defeated by a largely unknown independent candidate in a mayoral by-election in the southern city of Hódmezővásárhely, long a Fidesz stronghold, overtures were made to Jobbik in an attempt to get Hungary’s radical rightwing party to coordinate candidates with the so-called democratic opposition.
The short-lived negotiations came to naught, but may have resulted in Jobbik campaigning less vigorously in electoral districts where democratic opposition candidates are favored to defeat their Fidesz-KDNP opponents.
According to index,hu, the sum result of months of negotiations and a flurry of last-minute unilateral withdrawals, is the following:
MSZP-Dialogue and DK fulfilled their agreement to split Hungary’s 106 electoral district 60-46.
Subsequently, they withdrew candidates in favor of independent candidates Zoltán Kész and Tamás Mellár, LMP candidates Bernadett Szél and Ákos Hadhazy, and Együtt’s Szabolcs Szabó and Zoltán Vajda.
Nowhere did either MSZP-Dialogue or DK candidates step back in favor of Jobbik, which is running candidates in all 106 electoral districts (if half-heartedly in districts where opposition candidates are favored to win).
Refusing to conclude a formal candidate coordination agreement with anyone, in the end LMP withdrew candidates in favor of MSZP-Dialogue, DK, Együtt and even Jobbik.
Momentum which, like LMP, refused to sign a contract, withdrew candidates in favor of MSZP-Dialiogue, DK, Jobbik, and even Együtt.
The week before the election Együtt concluded an agreement with MSZP-Dialogue and DK in which it agreed to withdraw dozens of candidates in exchange for those parties withdrawing candidates in favor of Szabolcs Szabó and Zoltán Vajda.
Index writes that with this the task of opposition voters became simpler in a number of key districts in that the following democratic opposition candidates will now run unopposed by other leftwing candidates in their respective electoral districts:
- Ágnes Kunhalmi (MSZP-Dialogue) – Budapest 15th
- Antal Csárdi (LMP) – Budapest 1st
- Szabolcs Szabó (Együtt) – Budapest 1st
- Bernadett Szél (LMP) – Pest county 2nd (Budakeszi-Budaörs)
- Ákos Hadházy (LMP) – Tolna county 1st (Szekszárd)
The following democratic opposition candidates are favored to win in spite of one or more democratic opposition candidates remaining in the race
- László Varga (MSZP-Dialogue) – Borsod county 2nd
- Lajos Oláh (DK) – Budapest 5th
- Time Szabó (MSZP-Dialogue) – Budapest 10th
- Zoltán Vajda (Együtt) – Budapest 13th
- Sándor Rönai (DK) – Pest county 5th (Dunakeszi)
- Ilona Matkovich (LMP) – Pest county 4th (Vác)
Other democratic opposition candidates whose electoral prospects have improved as a result of one or more opposition candidates withdrawing include MSZP-Dialogue’s Gyula Molnár, István Hiller, and Mrs László Csabai.
Jobbik candidates Ádám Steinmetz, Attila Kiss, and Ádám Mirkóczki stand to benefit from the decision of LMP and/or Momentum to withdraw candidates.
Index notes that one of the problems with last-minute candidate coordination is that many voters will go to the polls tomorrow unaware that their party’s candidate is no longer in the running, without knowing which candidate to vote for in his or her place.