MSZP, LMP and Jobbik back independent candidate in Hódmezővásárhely mayoral election

January 5, 2018

MSZP, LMP and Jobbik back an independent candidate in Hódmezővásárhely mayoral election
Péter Márki-Zay | Photo: Facebook/Márki-Zay Péter

The Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP), Politics Can Be Different (LMP) and Jobbik will support the same independent candidate in February’s special mayoral election in Hódmezővásárhely, who officially announced his candidacy on Friday afternoon, reports index.hu.

The election in Minister Overseeing the Prime Minister’s Office János Lázár’s hometown on February 25 follows the death of Fidesz-Christian Democratic People’s Party (KDNP) Mayor István Almási last year. MSZP, LMP and Jobbik decided not to run their own candidates against acting mayor Zoltán Hegedűs but instead to support the independent Péter Márki-Zay in the poll.

An electrical engineer and economist by training who teaches history, Márki-Zay told HírTv on Thursday he is “not running in party colors, not in accordance with party programs.” He said he wishes to “embody the voices of those who are dissatisfied with the situation” and to “become megaphone for those who have been intimidated, those who don’t dare to speak in the city’s atmosphere, those who don’t dare to like a Facebook post.”

The local Vásárhely 24 portal reported last week that MSZP and far-right Jobbik were about to announce a joint candidate for mayor, but Jobbik party director Gábor Szabó quickly refuted the portal’s claim. According to index.hu, there is no written agreement among the three opposition parties. As none of them will run their own candidates, Márki-Zay will be the only contender against Hegedűs.

The willingness of opposition parties to coordinate candidates in electoral districts is essential if the ruling Fidesz-KDNP alliance is to be denied a two-thirds parliamentary majority in the general election slated for April.  However, it is questionable how effective this strategy will be in a Fidesz stronghold such as Hódmezővásárhely. Before Almási, Lázár led the city for 10 years as mayor. Even before Lázár, the city had an independent turned Fidesz mayor for 12 years.