Hungary’s political opposition has once again proven its inability to field joint candidates in order to defeat governing party candidates.
The city of Dunaújváros held a by-election this past weekend to replace the Fidesz city councilman who resigned after being charged with murder and burying the victim’s remains in a cement block underground.
The Fidesz candidate won with just 36 percent of the votes thanks to changes to the electoral law doing away with second-round elections in cases where voter participation is exceedingly low or no one candidate receives a majority.
According to Index.hu, the final tally was:
- Fruzsina Lassingleitner, Fidesz – 422 votes (36 percent)
- Zsolt Huszti, Democratic Coalition (DK) – 243 votes (21 percent)
- Endre Barta, Jobbik – 203 votes (17 percent)
- József Selyem, Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) – 98 votes (8,5 percent)
- Ilona Pappné Grabant, Dialogue for Hungary (PM) – 84 votes (7 percent)
- Bálint Gebei, independent – 84 votes (7 percent)
What is interesting about the by-election result is that the DK candidate received more votes than the MSZP one. DK is headed by former MSZP prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsány. However, if DK, MSZP and PM had joined forces, then it is more than likely that the opposition candidate would have defeated the Fidesz candidate, even though this electoral district elected Fidesz councilmen at the two previous elections.
The voter participation rate was relatively low: 32 percent. Of the 3,671 eligible voters, only 1,117 felt the by-election important enough to actually turn out.
According to DK president Gyurcsány, his party no longer feels the need to prove it is stronger than MSZP because this is not the lesson to be learned from the Dunaújváros by-election.
The real lesson, according to Gyurcsány, is the exact opposite.
“In the future, more needs to be done to seek cooperation between the democratic opposition parties to defeat Fidesz and the Orbán government,” he said.
But the finger-pointing did not stop there.
Zsolt Szabó, a member of PM’s presidium, said Fidesz won because DK and MSZP did not accept Dialogue for Hungary’s proposal to run a joint candidate.
“Unfortunately, MSZP and DK’s leaders did not accept Dialogue for Hungary’s proposal,” Szabó said. “It would be good if now, in light of the Dunaújváros election results, the leaders of these parties see that the only thing that will result from the democratic parties competing with each other is the continuation of Fidesz remaining in power.”