Budapest has had eleven local government representative by-elections since June. Nine of these seats have gone to government candidates, and two to opposition candidates. This surprised some because the joint opposition had had a strong showing in the municipal elections in Budapest in 2019 and had won in all but one of the city’s constituencies during the parliamentary elections in April of this year.
This weekend, three by-elections were held in Hungary: in the north-eastern city of Miskolc, in Budapest’s fourth district (Újpest) and in Hajdú-Bihar County Derecske. The candidates of the ruling party, Fidesz-KDNP won in Miskolc and Derecske, while the opposition managed to clinch Újpest.
In Miskolc, Gábor Barta retook the third electoral district from the left. In his victory speech he said it was not only his rival he beat, but the entire Democratic Coalition faction as well. He added that it did not matter that DK had campaigned on the streets, in the hallways of residential buildings and even in the pubs of Miskolc, the voters of the third electoral district sent a clear message to them: ‘We do not need a shadow government, we do not need Gyurcsány!’ In his remarks on election night he said,
‘This turned out to be an edifying by-election. After the elections on 3 April, Gyurcsány and DK basically asked to be beaten. In a city most think is left leaning, and which is thought to be led by DK, we managed to win against the odds. The whole DK and Ferenc Gyurcsány personally campaigned in the district for days on end, however, the results prove that Gyurcsány is now a mere shadow of his former self.’
By-elections were held in Derecske as well, since the previous local government council was dissolved, so the new mayor and representatives were elected simultaneously. The mayor’s post was won by independent, but Fidesz-backed candidate Anikó Rácz.
In Újpest, the joint opposition candidate beat his ruling party opponent. The by-election was held because former council representative, LMP’s Máté Kanász Nagy had to resign after becoming a member of parliament. Zsolt Maholányi won by a narrow margin in the left-leaning electoral district.