A candidate representing Hungary’s ruling centre-right Fidesz has scored a confident victory at elections in an individual municipal government constituency in a southern Hungarian town on Sunday. The victory, which has little practical significance, signals that the fragmented left-wing opposition has little chance of providing a viable alternative to the government at national level.
1177 out of the total of 3671 eligible voters cast their ballot in the Dunaújváros local government constituency, corresponding to a voter turnout of 32.06 per cent. Fruzsina Lassingleitner, the candidate for the country’s ruling centre-right Fidesz party, gained 36 per cent of the vote, followed by Zsolt Huszti of the left-wing Democratic Coalition (DK) party, headed by former Socialist Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány, with 21 per cent, and Endre Barta of the radical nationalist Jobbik party. In a humiliating blow to the Socialists (MSZP), the country’s ruling party until the landslide 2010 general elections, their candidate, József Selyem, gained only 98 votes, not far ahead of Ilona Papp Grabant representing the minor green-left PM party which has only one MP in Parliament and an independent (both 84 votes).
Campaigning in a former Socialist stronghold: Prime Minister Viktor Orbán promised billions of forints in development funds for the former Communist industrial centre, named after Stalin until 1961, during a recent visit (photo: Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI)
The local government by-election in the former industrial city of 50 000 inhabitants was called after Roland Gál, the neighbourhood’s former representative in the municipal assembly for the ruling Fidesz-KDNP alliance, became the suspect of a criminal homicide investigation.
Winning candidate: Fruzsina Lassingleitner of the country’s governing conservative Fidesz party (photo: dunaujvaros.com)
At previous elections in 2014, Gál won the constituency with 45 per cent of the vote, followed by Mr. Huszti, who at the time was running as the joint candidate of MSZP, DK and PM at 30 per cent and Jobbik’s Mr. Barta at 17 per cent, at a higher level of turnout.
While far-fetching conclusions should not be drawn from minor local election results, they will serve to strengthen the positions of Mr. Gyurcsány and his liberal-leaning DK party, which has long campaigned for a unified left-wing alliance to oppose the Orbán government.
In late February, the governing parties suffered a defeat at mayoral elections in the northern town of Salgótarján from the Socialist candidate.