Against the Odds
The capital of Hungary is considered to be leaning towards the left. However, this did not stop Fidesz from claiming another two out of three municipal seats in recent by-elections. On Sunday, voters went to the polls in three electoral districts: two in Újbuda (Budapest’s 11th district), and one in Zugló (the 14th district). The governing party’s candidates won one of the seats in Újbuda and the one in Zugló, which was perhaps the most important one.
Zugló is a part of Budapest where the left has always been dominant. The Fidesz candidate, Pál Juhász-Pintér, however, managed to defeat the opposition’s candidate, Dalma Kökény. In the last municipal elections, every constituency in the district was won by the opposition, and veteran Socialist politician Csaba Horváth was elected mayor. However, in recent years there has been growing dissatisfaction among the local residents with decisions made by the opposition-dominated general assembly and the increasing infighting between the opposition parties. This time neither the mayor nor the Socialist Party (MSZP) supported the opposition’s candidate in the by-election, which was held because Rebeka Szabó (a Párbeszéd politician, also deputy mayor of Zugló) became a member of parliament, so she had to step down as a local government representative.
In Újbuda, two by-elections were held at the same time. In Lágymányos, the number five constituency, István Jankó of Fidesz beat his opponent, Mátyás Devecseri, a Momentum politician. In the number 14 constituency, however, the opposition candidate emerged victorious.
Facts to Consider
The results of these Budapest by-elections seem to suggest that the support of the political left has taken a hit after their massive loss in the April elections. As we highlighted in an earlier article, Fidesz’s Csilla Fazekas scored an important victory on 11 September in Budapest’s 1st district, the historically right-leaning Castle District, which had been ‘lost’ to the opposition in 2019. With Fazekas’s win, Fidesz has secured a majority in the local general assembly again.
These Fidesz victories attest to the fact that the ruling party’s support is stronger than ever in the capital city as well.