Weekly magazine 168 Óra published a list Tuesday of probable Fidesz candidates for Hungary’s 106 individual voting districts. While the party’s national committee, led by speaker of the National Assembly László Kövér, has yet to finally approve the candidates, the list obtained by 168 Óra represents the party’s most likely choices to run in each district.
Although many of the names on the list come as little surprise (those representatives who won elections in 2014 are largely running again in their constituencies), a number of interesting changes indicate a slightly different strategy for Fidesz for 2018 compared to four years ago. Surprisingly, a number of candidates who ran and lost in 2014 are being allowed to run again in the same districts, and other politicians who have been involved in embarrassing scandals since 2014 also appear on the list.
Among those politicians running in Budapest districts where they’ve already lost are: Fidesz vice-president Szilárd Németh, who appears likely to run in Csepel despite having lost a race there in 2014; one-time deputy mayor of Budapest István György, who will run in Kőbánya where he too lost in 2014; Erzsébet Menczer, who will run in Óbuda; and Gyula Földesi in Pesterzsébet. Fidesz delegation leader Gergely Gulyás will give his first try in Budapest’s District XII, and Tamás Harrach (son of Christian Democrats [KDNP] delegation leader Péter Harrach) will run in the traditionally Socialist Budapest district of Angyalföld, while current District VIII mayor Máté Kocsis will run for the first time in the district encompassing Józsefváros and Ferencváros.
Outside the capital, Undersecretary for the Ministry of Human Resources Bence Rétvári (KDNP) will run in the city of Vác, replacing KDNP delegation leader Péter Harrach. In Veszprém, where independent MP Zoltán Kész definitively won a surprising by-election victory in 2015, stripping Fidesz of its two-thirds parliamentary majority, Fidesz will run its district party president Péter Ovádi. Zoltán Fenyvesi will contest the Veszprém county city of Tapolca where he lost a by-election against Jobbik MP Lajos Rig in 2015. György Simonka and Roland Mengyi (aka Voldemort), both of whom have been implicated in a number of cases of corruption, will run in Orosháza and Tiszaújváros respectively.
Minister Overseeing the Office of the Prime Minister János Lázár will contest his home town of Hódmezővásárhely, and Minister without portfolio Lajos Kósa will run in Debrecen, where he once served as mayor. Other prominent Fidesz politicians will not run in individual districts but will appear on the party’s national list.
Propaganda minister Antal Rogán, perhaps too embroiled in scandal even for Fidesz to run, will not try again for his seat at the head of Budapest’s first electoral district. Fidesz has yet to name a candidate for that district and, according to 168 Óra, will prepare a public opinion poll there before deciding. Fidesz has also not decided who to stand in the city of Szeged, where that city’s mayor and former Socialist Party prime ministerial candidate László Botka is strong.