Why this story matters:
Hódmezővásárhely is not just a picturesque city in the south of Hungary. It has also been a stronghold of the ruling Fidesz party since the transition to democracy. The party elite was certain that their candidate would win Sunday's election.
Even in presumably friendly Hódmezővásárhely, Fidesz conducted a dirty election campaign, financially blackmailing prominent figures of the city, encouraging a local priest to campaign for Fidesz, and publicly calling the independent candidate, Marki-Zay a “fool”.
In the run-up to the elections, anonymous flyers that “blacklisted” supporters of Marki-Zay appeared in the mailboxes of many residents.
Despite all of Fidesz's endeavors, however, the people of Hódmezővásárhely made it clear that they looked for change.
Marki-Zay's victory is telling not only because Fidesz was defeated, but also because all parties -- from the socialists to the far-right -- joined forces to back an independent candidate. If such a phenomenon happens again during the upcoming general elections, Hungary could suddenly shed its black sheep label and re-align with the more liberal heart of the EU.
Details from the story:
- The mayoral election were held because the previous mayor, Istvan Almasi, passed away.
- Peter Marki-Zay received 13076 votes (57%). The candidate of Fidesz, Zoltan Hegedus, scored 9468.
- The turnout was high -- more than 62% of the locals cast their vote.
- Gergely Karacsony, an opposition PM candidate, said that if Fidesz can loose in Hódmezővásárhely it can be beaten anywhere.