“We congratulate him. Hódmezővásárhely is an important city. It has always been important to us. We will keep on doing everything we can for its development,” a seemingly confident Viktor Orbán told hvg.hu the day after independent Péter Márki-Zay with the backing of the opposition parties won the mayoral by-election in Hódmezővásárhely, a Fidesz stronghold.
When asked about the possibility of a similarly surprising defeat in the April 8 general election, the Prime Minister told hvg.hu that “Fidesz must recall the old knowledge that our community has never been given anything cheap or for free. We have never won an election just by accident or because of luck or the weakness of the others. When we wanted to win, our community had to mobilize two-three times more energy than our opponents. It is the same now. We have to double our efforts, this is the moral of the story.”
Meanwhile, in an impassioned Monday morning op-ed in Magyar Idők, controversial publicist and founding Fidesz member Zsolt Bayer urged Fidesz and its sympathizers not to take the Hódmezővásárhely defeat lightly.
“Let’s not start explaining this away. Practically we have hardly ever lost anything since 2006. Especially not when the stakes were high. This is now the first serious defeat in twelve years. In a symbolic space, in a symbolic time, in a symbolic city,” wrote Bayer.
The publicist who is well-known for his racist, homophobic, and antisemitic remarks, now worriedly urges his political community to draw the necessary conclusions before the April 8 general election.
“It is time to stop for a moment and think about what might be the problem. […] If we are not willing to understand and process this, but instead start to look away and fabricate false explanations, there will be huge trouble. Bigger than we can imagine.”
It is not known to what extent Bayer’s comments were directed at Fidesz chairman Orbán, who, when asked whether Fidesz should face the results, dodged the question and told hvg.hu that Fidesz must, of course, face its opponents and fend off the danger of organizations receiving grants that would turn Hungary into an “immigrant country.”
“To me, the election stakes have not changed: it’s only about one issue, as a result of the election do we want to become an immigrant country or not,” Orbán said. “If our community stays in power, Hungary will not become an immigrant country. If our opposition comes to power Hungary will become an immigrant country. I wish that people consider this with the required weight and gravity. My point is, we have to work three times more than now.”