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In their first comments after Péter Márki-Zay’s victory was announced late on Sunday night, left-liberal commentators think his unexpected success gives new hope to those Hungarians who want to vote the incumbent government out of office next April. Critics of the opposition ruminate on what the government side should do after Péter Márki-Zay, an outsider, managed to defeat opposition party leaders and become Prime Minister Orbán’s challenger in next April’s parliamentary elections.

Hungarian press roundup by budapost.eu


On 24.hu, Péter Pető writes that Márki-Zay, the solitary newcomer has defeated the opposition parties but will need them to become Prime Minister. His victory, the liberal commentator remarks, is in many ways similar to Donald Trump’s unexpected success in 2016 as well as to the election of outsiders to leading posts in Slovakia or again the sudden appearance of the 5 Star movement in Italy.

On 444, Péter Magyari also takes the result of the primary as an indication that the ’opposition-minded public’ doesn’t only want to send Fidesz packing but is not particularly enthusiastic about the opposition parties either. Nevertheless, he adds, the opposition leaders have no choice but to stand behind Márki-Zay in an attempt to win the elections next year.

In Népszava, Miklós Hargitay takes Márki-Zay’s election as opposition candidate for Prime Minister as another proof that Hungary has shifted towards the Right over the past decades. The Left has even lost its domination within the opposition, he writes, and people have realized that if they want to see PM Orbán defeated in next year’s election, they had to choose a moderate right-wing leader. He hopes that now the multifaceted opposition will remain united and spring yet another surprise on the country next April.

An Unexpected Win: Who is Orbán Challenger, Péter Márki-Zay?
An Unexpected Win: Who is Orbán Challenger, Péter Márki-Zay?

Unlike his opponents at the opposition primaries, Péter Márki-Zay was not a well-known person in Hungarian politics- until now.Continue reading

On Mandiner, Mátyás Kohán attributes Márki Zay’s victory over DK candidate Klára Dobrev to the ballots of a new group of voters who wanted to deny DK leader Ferenc Gyurcsány the chance to take hold of the reins of the opposition. Many of them must once have voted for Fidesz, he surmises, but have withdrawn from politics over the past few years. The outcome of next year’s elections, Kohán suggests, will depend on precisely such “intelligent” people, as opposed to the fanatic supporters of either camp. To convince them, he believes, negative campaigns like the one currently urging citizens to “stop Gyurcsány” will not do. A programme, a positive vision of the future will be indispensable, Kohán concludes.

In Magyar Nemzet, Tamás Pilhál sees Péter Márki-Zay, the self-defined conservative and practising Christian prime ministerial candidate as the Left’s Trojan horse. His role, the pro-government columnist suggests, is to lure conservative-minded voters onto the other side of the political divide. Hidden within the hollow wooden horse, he continues his parable, Gyurcsány and his fighters are waiting for their opponents to lower their guard. Pilhál calls on conservatives not to allow patriotic, right-wing citizens to be duped by the Trojan horse ruse and not to bring the wooden horse within the precincts of their fortress. In his final remark, he calls on his fellow conservatives to “topple the Trojan horse”.

Dangers and Possibilities- Political Analysts' Take on Péter Márki-Zay's Chances
Dangers and Possibilities- Political Analysts' Take on Péter Márki-Zay's Chances

Most of the relevant Hungarian political analysts highlight the fact that his victory could not have been foreseen and he comes outside of the establishment, which may be dangerous for the ruling side and Orbán. On the other hand, many pinpoint the difficulties he would have to encounter within the opposition alliance.Continue reading

Featured photo via Péter Márki-Zay’s Facebook page