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Tapolca By-Election: Jobbik Set To Win First-Ever Individual Mandate In Head-To-Head Race With Ruling Fidesz

By Ferenc Sullivan // 2015.04.12.

The final outcome of the Sunday by-election in the Tapolca constituency in western Hungary is still unknown as votes cast by the constitency’s citizens living abroad will have to be counted before the winner of the head-to-head race for the parliamentary mandate between the candidates of Jobbik and the ruling Fidesz-KDNP is announced.

With 98.2 per cent of votes counted, Jobbik’s Lajos Rig is in the lead with 35.3 per cent of votes, followed by Fidesz-KDNP candidate Zoltán Fenyvesi with 34.27 per cent and Ferenc Pad, running as the joint candidate of the left-wing MSZP and DK parties, with 26.36 per cent. The difference between the first two politicians is currently 302 votes, meaning that Mr. Fenyvesi would have to take 60-70 per cent of votes cast at the last uncounted polling station to gain the lead from Mr. Rig and win Fidesz-KDNP the mandate.

Despite this technicality, it is almost certain that the radical nationalist party has managed to win the first individual constituency mandate in its history, with the 41-year-old healthcare worker beating both the candidate of the ruling Fidesz-KDNP alliance and the left-wing opposition.

The results will come as a further blow to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s party after Zoltán Kész, an independent candidate backed by left-wing parties, won a by-election in the Veszprém constituency, adjacent to Tapolca, on 22 February, causing Fidesz-KDNP to loose its two-third majority in Parliament.

However, according to a recent survey by the think tank Nézőpont Intézet, the ruling Fidesz-KDNP continues to lead polls on the national level, with 29 per cent of the entire population and 44 per cent of potential voters claiming to support the governing parties. Jobbik is in second place, followed by the parties of the fragmented left-wing opposition.

photo: Jobbik candidate Lajos Rig (right) with Jobbik chairman Gábor Vona (MTI/György Varga)