The Socialist Party (MSZP) has finally decided who they will support as the joint opposition’s prime ministerial candidate in the primaries. MSZP did not take a stance for a week, but many of their politicians have announced their vote for leftist Democratic Coalition candidate, Klára Dobrev. It is yet unknown if those who have taken Dobrev’s side will now have to publicly change their minds.
Gergely Karácsony, the joint prime ministerial candidate of three opposition parties (namely LMP, Párbeszéd, and MSZP), withdrew last Friday from the primaries, only two days before the second round. The Budapest mayor asked all his supporters (which meant 170,000 voters in the first round) to support conservative candidate Péter Márki-Zay, as Social Democrat-Green Karácsony believes he has the best chance to win against incumbent PM Viktor Orbán in the general elections next year, which is a prerequisite for the opposition parties to see their programs through to completion.
Days passed after Karácsony’s announcement, but neither of the parties formerly behind him backed either Márki-Zay or Dobrev. According to MSZP co-leader, Ágnes Kunhalmi, the party was so divided that they would rather leave their sympathizers to decide which candidate to vote for. However, more and more Socialist politicians (including Socialist heavy-weights, such as former party leader István Hiller and presidency member András Nemény) announced they were supporting Dobrev. The first main figure to step out of this line and openly support the conservative candidate was former party president Ildikó Lendvai, and MSZP co-leader Bertalan Tóth soon followed her. On Thursday, in front of the cameras, he voted for Márki-Zay, arguing that Wednesday evening’s prime ministerial debate convinced him that Márki-Zay is the one who has the most chance to defeat Orbán. He also announced he would call an extraordinary presidency meeting.
Some hours later (and six days after Karácsony’s withdrawal), MSZP officially decided to support Márki-Zay’s candidancy and asked all of their sympathizers to vote for him. According to the Socialist Party’s reasoning, they believe the joint opposition would have better chances next year with him as PM candidate (although they would support Dobrev if the DK politician wins the primary).
The opposition’s primaries conclude on Saturday.
Featured photo via Péter Márki-Zay’s Facebook page