Budapest’s opposition-backed mayor Gergely Karácsony will not challenge Viktor Orbán and run for Prime Minister as joint opposition candidate in 2022, the green-leftist politician told Balkan Insight.
After the success of the 2019 municipal elections in which Karácsony emerged mayor of Budapest after beating Fidesz-backed István Tarlós, and was labeled “the only success story of the opposition,” most of the opposition foresees the primaries as another opportunity in order to run one joint candidate against Viktor Orbán.
That primaries are the way to overcome the Orbán government, Karácsony himself also stressed multiple times. In a recent interview with liberal weekly Magyar Narancs, he argued that the primaries preceding the 2019 local elections also confirmed this “despite opposite expectations.”
Karácsony has once again confirmed that he wouldn’t be the one challenging Orbán in the general elections in 2022. “I have received a huge task with my present assignment, and would like to concentrate on Budapest,” he told the site, which published a long article about him. In it, Balkan Insight drew a parallel with the Polish presidential elections, that his ally, Warsaw mayor Rafał Trzaskowski eventually lost to Orbán-ally Andrzej Duda, but according to analysts, he could still establish himself for the future.
As a matter of fact, in 2018, Karácsony already ran for the prime ministerial seat as the joint candidate of the Socialists (MSZP) and his party, Párbeszéd. Based on the party lists, bagging nearly 12% of the votes, he finished third after Orbán and Jobbik’s Gábor Vona, who has since retired from politics.
Earlier on ATV, he also claimed that the rumor that “Viktor Orbán will come off the brake in connection with [gov’t money due for] Budapest if he guarantees not to run in 2022 as the joint prime ministerial candidate of the opposition” is true. He said that Fidesz circles had long been hinting for him “to retreat from domestic politics and then everything will be fine.” (Reacting to Karácsony, the state secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office for Budapest, Balázs Fürjes, said that he heard the complete opposite rumor that the Budapest Mayor offered to give up his involvement in national politics if the capital gets more funding from the government).
Anyhow, although Karácsony had some debated moves recently, his popularity has slightly increased since last year’s local elections.
Up until now, only Hódmezővásárhely mayor Péter Márki-Zay, who recently twice-beat Fidesz’s candidate in the town of Fidesz strongman János Lázár, said that in case his name comes up, he “wouldn’t refuse” running as joint opposition candidate against Orbán in 2022. Other names which have already circulated in the media, include Democratic Coalition (DK) MEP Klára Dobrev (the wife of former PM and DK leader Ferenc Gyurcsány) and Momentum MEP Anna Donáth.
featured image via Zsolt Szigetváry/MTI