Budapest mayor Gergely Karácsony and Hódmezővásárhely mayor Péter Márki-Zay said that they would run together in the second round of the primaries. However, the way they want to cooperate seems to be impossible. In the end, the two allies were left with no other option but to withdraw from the race, in favor of one or the other.
The agreement between Karácsony and Márki-Zay
Karácsony and Márki-Zay said that they would jointly create a program that does not go against the opposition parties’ program and which center-right and center-left voters would also find attractive. They want to form a government in which it would not matter who was prime minister and who was deputy prime minister: they would govern by consensus, with both responsible for making decisions.
The mayor of Hódmezővásárhely indicated that if elected, they would set up a public law body to work with leading constitutional lawyers to restore the Hungarian rule of law. They would also set up an accountability body under the leadership of Ákos Hadházy, which would deal not only with corruption under the Fidesz government but also with corruption before 2010. He stressed that they would also count on Hungarians living beyond the borders and would keep the current family support system.
However, they have not yet decided which of them should run for prime minister in 2022 at the top of the opposition list, but their negotiations will be concluded soon. “We have agreed on the program, the role is irrelevant,” said Márki-Zay. Karácsony said that at the final round of the opposition’s prime ministerial primary they would run as two equal halves of an alliance and would take the initiative to the National Election Committee to have their names next to each other on the ballot papers instead of below.
While the cooperation is not surprising, as the two have been in several meetings, their names next to each other on the ballot instead of them being below each other is unusual and not everyone agrees with it.
“In politics, it must be decided who leads and who has the second line,” Klára Dobrev, the Democratic Coalition’s candidate for prime minister, said to ATV. Dobrev thinks that the alliance between her rivals Gergely Karácsony and Péter Márki-Zay is a bit “messy” and not well-thought-out. She thinks they can work together, but they should decide soon who will be the candidate for prime minister.
Dobrev also said that Jobbik and Momentum candidates who had not made it to the second round could also be deputies, after it was mentioned that Karácsony had said in the same studio minutes earlier that just as he would count on Márki-Zay as deputy prime minister, he could also count on Dobrev.
The two men’s names being next to each other was not only dismissed by Dobrev, but more importantly by the president of the Civil Electoral Commission (CVB).
“No tandem – we don’t change the rules during the game, that’s what democracy is all about, decide whose name should be on the ballot paper,”
György Magyar said. If they were both on it at the same time, “it would not only be a kick in the teeth of the rules written under the original six-party agreement, but it would also be a mockery of the primaries and the electorate,” he said. Of course, they can agree on anything amongst themselves, but they cannot rewrite the rules, he added.
Such a decision would require the unanimous agreement of the six parties, which he said was unlikely, “but if they do push it through, we civilians will not let them, we will stand up,” he said, making it clear that he believed such a solution would be unacceptable. He said it was “like deciding during a match that we can score a goal with our hands.”
Péter Jakab, the president of Jobbik, which party leadership seems to lean towards DK’s Dobrev but officially does not support any PM candidate in the second round, said that the candidates should “let the people decide who should challenge Orbán, and the others should take this into account and take a step back. That’s what I did when the voters told me that I would not get through to the second round of the primaries. I didn’t ask for the rules to be rewritten so that even the fourth can go further. I overcame my ego for the nation.” He added:
“Coalition means not two people, but six parties and the voters behind them governing together, and the primaries mean that the voters decide who is the ONE to challenge Orbán.”
Printer deadline cuts debate short
It was urgent for the two candidates to decide about the name issue as the ballot papers had to be sent to the printers today by the Civil Electoral Commission.
The ballots are already at the printers and they have the names listed as follows:
- Klára Dobrev
- Péter Márki-Zay
- Gergely Karácsony
Márki-Zay and Karácsony can still decide in the future that one of them will withdraw, but for now all their names had to be printed individually, not next to each other.
Featured image via Balázs Gulyás/Magyar Hang