Speaking on ATV’s Egyenes Beszéd program, Péter Márki-Zay, the political opposition’s joint candidate for prime minister, said that he was shocked by an article published by investigative outlet Direkt36 on Tuesday on the reasons for his election defeat and the collapse of the opposition. He was also shocked and hurt to see how many times the heads of the six-party coaltion made decisions behind his back.
He added that business and lobbying interests had tried to influence the campaign, which he attempted to stop. At the same time, Márki-Zay also took responsibility for his election loss.
Well, I’m sure I made a million mistakes.
-he said, in large part because of his inadequate campaign messaging.
Péter Márki-Zay also mentioned that he felt he was the candidate in the primary election least likely to be lumped in with former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány, still loathed by large numbers of voters, which is why he won the primary. This is also why Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony withdrew as a primary candidate, but their calculations didn’t work out in the end.
Fidesz then made a campaign about Gyurcsány […] half a year later they were already lumping me in with Gyurcsány […] I was sad to see that Fidesz’s communication capabilities were not only able to make this possible, but that they could make hundreds of thousands of people in this country believe that we would be taking away their children to die in Ukraine.
-said Péter Márki-Zay at the end of the interview. [Index]
“We are forming a party of civilians,” wrote Péter Márki-Zay in a Facebook post on Monday morning, adding that issues related to setting up the party will be addressed when his organization, the Everybody’s Hungary Movement, elects officers at the end of May.
The former nominee for prime minister of the joint opposition claimed that the Everybody’s Hungary Movement, and the civilians it represents, were strongly disadvantaged during the elections, as cooperation with the opposition meant that they could not assert their interests through a single party.
Márki-Zay won a seat in Parliament on the opposition’s party list, but indicated after the elections that he would not accept it, and instead keep his current job as mayor of Hódmezővásárhely. [HVG]
Péter Márki-Zay thinks that boycotting the opening session of Parliament on Monday would have been an excellent opportunity for Hungary’s opposition parties to protest the lack of democracy and freedom of the press in the country, according to a video the former nominee for prime minister livestreamed on Sunday evening.
At the moment, only Ákos Hadházy will boycott Monday’s inaugural session of Parliament, while Momentum MPs will leave the room after taking the oath of office.
Although the opposition’s former nominee for prime minister did not name any names, he also had some sharp words in his nearly hour-and-a-half-long video for several parties he worked with in the campaign:
There are parties that haven’t uncovered any Fidesz corruption over the past four years. There are parties that only took part in the opposition campaign with hems and haws, who didn’t want to give money to it, didn’t want to give experts to it, only campaigned at ‘half-steam,’ who were perfectly satisfied with getting as many seats in Parliament as they could, and then get as much money as they could.
These parties (…) do not want to overthrow Viktor Orbán.
“I strongly doubt that we would have had a fundamentally different result if anyone else had been the nominee for prime minister,” said Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony, one of the candidates running for the position himself on the opposition side, to Inforádió. Karácsony was responding to the question of whether in retrospect it had been a good idea to withdraw his candidacy in favor of Péter Márki-Zay, the eventual nominee.
“I determined that with Péter Márki-Zay as the prime ministerial nominee, the opposition would be better able to project itself as building a future-oriented politics,” the Mayor told Inforádió. 
“Public property is our common property!” writes Péter Márki-Zay on Facebook. The former prime ministerial candidate for the democratic opposition writes that “replacing the Orbán regime requires new initiatives that show and expose the regime’s malice, so that the truth reaches even the smallest settlements.”
Márki-Zay believes that “Nerpédia” could be a key part of this aim. The new effort, which appears to combine the acronym of Orbán’s System of National Cooperation (NER) with the ending “-pedia,” is designed to expose abuses.
“Everyone has the right to know if they are mistreated by a lawmaker, and Nerpédia can help with with this,” says Márki-Zay, who closes his post by encouraging his supporters to “read and edit Nerpedia yourself.” [Magyar Hang]
Hódmezővásárhély Mayor Péter Márki-Zay has accepted an invitation to meet with János Lázár, the mayor wrote on Facebook.
Márki-Zay, the united opposition’s candidate for prime minister, also ran as individual candidate in the 2022 elections in the electoral district around Hódmezővásárhely, but was bested by Fidesz’s Lázár, also a former mayor of the southern Hungarian town and a former member of the Orbán government.
Prior to the April 3 elections, Lázár said Márki-Zay would be a “political corpse” after the votes were counted. On Wednesday, he invited Márki-Zay to a joint work meeting. [Telex]
The six-party democratic opposition coalition has decided to give Péter Márki-Zay’s seat in Parliament to Jobbik’s Noémi Végh, who is next in line on the opposition’s joint party list.
Márki-Zay, the opposition’s candidate for prime minister, won a seat in Parliament from the party list, but indicated after the elections that he wouldn’t accept it and instead keep his current job as mayor of Hódmezővásárhely. The opposition politician later indicated that he wanted Bernadett Szél to take his place.
444 was unable to find out anything substantial about Noémi Végh after looking for information about her online. 
Péter Márki-Zay has set a goal of establishing a new European people’s party that will fight corruption and all forms of extremism, and which he hopes will join the European People’s Party group in the European Parliament.
In a new video posted to social media on Easter Sunday, the former prime ministerial candidate for Hungary’s opposition said that we shouldn’t make the mistake of looking for the cause of the huge defeat in the elections two weeks ago.
Essentially, the system that has been built up around us is the reason why this very important project, which I staked my life on, was not able to succeed on April 3.
-said the opposition politician, who believes that the last chance to overthrow Viktor Orbán’s regime has passed. However, anyone who thinks that it is possible to replace this regime in four years’ time also legitimizes the current situation.
Márki-Zay stated that it would take time to process the defeat, as well as find new ways that can move Hungary forward.
Those who have been holding each other’s hands as they now mourn must not let go as they build anew. Communities also have to be strengthened in places where their painful lack of them caused defeat. The talks that began two weeks could be a way out of this crisis.
For Hungary is in crisis.
-said the politician, who claimed that in the past few days, 2,000 people had already applied to join his Kossuth Circles initiative, which he called small circles of freedom that can be used to build the solutions of the future upon. Márki-Zay asked his followers to join this ever-expanding community.
The Kossuth Circles welcome all who want to do something to keep Hungary from being “the poorest, most depopulated, and most corrupt country in the European Union.” To do this, new forms of public expression have to be created, said the mayor of Hódmezővásárhely.
At the end of his video message, Péter Márki-Zay said that his goal was to launch a European people’s party that would take part in the 2024 European Parliament elections.
This party, said the politician, will fight all expressions of corruption and extremism, and will hope to have a home in the European People’s Party group in the European Parliament, while closely cooperating with Márki-Zay’s Everybody’s Hungary Movement and the Kossuth Circles.
There is no need to figure out who is to blame or who is responsible for the opposition’s election defeat, as it was due to Fidesz’s “Death Star” – the propaganda machinery that spreads fake news, said Péter Márki-Zay on ATV’s Egyenes Beszéd.
The rules of the game need to change, otherwise the outcome won’t change either.
-he said, adding that a non-democratic regime cannot be defeated in a democratic election.
The prime ministerial candidate for the united opposition also spoke about who he would prefer take the parliamentary mandate he won on the joint party list but will be declining.
Márki-Zay stressed that the decision over his replacement will primarily be the decision of the six parties, but he said that his preference was Bernadett Szél, who came up short as a candidate in an individual electoral district against Tamás Menczer of Fidesz.
On Saturday, Ákos Hadházy also strongly came out in favor of Szél for Márki-Zay’s seat. The independent MP wrote on Facebook that “along with Fidesz winning another two-thirds majority, Bernadett Szél’s loss was the most unjust and painful,” calling her “one of the most active, determined, popular, and credible members of the opposition.”
I can only dare to hope (and also recommend) that they offer her the mandate Péter Márki-Zay is giving up.
-wrote Hadházy about Szél, like himself a former LMP party member but now not affiliated with any party.
Hódmezővásárhely Mayor Péter Márki-Zay (pictured), the opposition coalition’s candidate for prime minister this year, characterized the situation regarding the election defeat as if the Hungary of 1989, when the change of regime seemed imminent, had instead regressed back to 1970.
Speaking on Klubrádió, the opposition politician stated that until now, he believed it was possible to win while playing on an football field elevated in favor of Viktor Orbán, under rules he had made, but it has turned out that this is not the case.
Asked whether he saw any flaws in himself, Péter Márki-Zay replied, “Of course.”
I can’t change my style, and I haven’t even tried to.
-said Péter Márki-Zay, adding that “he apologizes for this and everything else” that depended on him.
But he also felt that it was a mistake to believe that they could have won with a candidate from the left, claiming that left-wing voters stuck with them.
If they hadn’t, he said, then the Hungarian Two-Tailed Dog Party would have gotten into Parliament instead of Our Homeland. Right-wing voters were hesitant to cast their vote for a list that included Ferenc Gyurcsány and DK, and quite prominently as well.
These mistakes are dangerous, believes Márki-Zay, because whoever thinks they can win the election with Klára Dobrev or Ferenc Gyurcsány four years from now will be in for a rude awakening.
The government’s unsubstantiated and flat-out false allegations about the political opposition during the campaign were so successful that even a significant number of opposition voters believed them, reports HVG360 on the results of a study by the Dimenzió Media Foundation.
A representative poll conducted in late March showed that a wide range of voters had encountered false political messages, but could not be convinced as to how real they were.
The results showed that, among other things, 30% of opposition voters believed that Péter Márki-Zay would lead Hungary into war. And those not attached to a specific party gave twice as much credit to the government’s character assassination attempts on the opposition’s prime ministerial candidate.
The poll sample also made clear that Hungarians’ right to be properly informed without influence has become seriously damaged since 2010. As Ferenc Vicsek, one of the authors of the report, put it:
It’s impossible to talk about free and democratic elections in a place where a significant portion of citizens, the proportion that significantly influences the election, are not exposed to the messages of some participants in a political competition, including those that refute the false statements said about them. The fact that these refutations do not even reach some voters is visible proof of how uniquely asymmetrical the Hungarian media system is.
The research did not take a look at those who had encountered responses to Fidesz’s claims, nor how those who had exposure to differing viewpoints eventually decided which ones were true. As a result, it cannot be determined to what extent these allegations influenced the final election results.
Tamás Lánczi will interview Péter Márki-Zay on his public television show “48 Minutes” on Thursday evening, announced hirado.hu.
Interestingly, when he was a prime ministerial candidate for the united opposition during the election, Márki-Zay was only given five minutes of airtime on state-run media. This means that the failed opposition candidate is now getting nearly 10 times more airtime on the television station funded by Hungarian taxpayers than he did during the election campaign.
According to hirado.hu, the conversation will be broadcast on M1 on Thursday at 8:35pm, but it can also be watched on hirado.hu itself, as well as on their Facebook page and YouTube channel.
It took a failed election to get more than 5 minutes of time on public television… In live shows, I’ve taken every opportunity so far to tell the truth to those who only have access to propaganda.
-Péter Márki-Zay wrote on Facebook Tuesday afternoon.
“We’re building a center-right people’s party,” wrote Péter Márki-Zay, the united opposition’s candidate for prime minister in the April 3 election, on his Facebook page. After suffering another two-thirds defeat by Fidesz over a week ago, Márki-Zay wrote:
Now is the time for the opposition to embolden itself with a party that is acceptable to a wide range of right-wing supporters, free of any corruption or extremism.
The mayor of Hódmezővásárhely believes it is important to create a people’s party acceptable to center-right voters, which will then run candidates in the European Parliament elections two years from now as the Hungarian partner of the European People’s Party.
As he said in an interview with Népszava, he now wants “resistance instead of opposition,” intending his prospective new party to organize this in the near future, as well as stand up for an “opposition dragged along for political reasons.”
In today’s Hungary, in order to reach small rural settlements and the poorest people in the country, this party must take on a completely new role. We have 120 Kossuth Circles on our side, 27,000 vote counters and tens of thousands of activists.
Telex asked Péter Márki-Zay on Monday morning if he planned to accept a seat in the new National Assembly. He is entitled to a parliamentary mandate as the top person on the opposition’s party list, but he would have to give up his current job as mayor of Hódmezővásárhely.
I am going to focus on Hódmezővásárhely.
-Péter Márki-Zay told the news site. When asked if this meant he would not be taking a seat in Parliament, Márki-Zay answered:
I am going to work for the people of Vásárhely in the future, and in this light I will decide about the parliamentary mandate.
Based on this answer, he does not seem likely to take his seat in Parliament.
Péter Márki-Zay not only suffered a 53-35% national defeat on the party list ballot, but he also lost his individual race 52-39% to Fidesz candidate János Lázár in Csongrád-Csanád County’s 4th electoral district, although the result won’t be official until after the votes from abroad and absentee votes within the country come in this weekend. Hódmezővásárhely itself, where Márki-Zay is currently the mayor, also belongs to this constituency.
Márki-Zay only gave a brief comment regarding his local and national defeat, stating that he can now see that the unified opposition model did not work in overthrowing Fidesz.
The numbers show that we couldn’t reach the old Jobbik voters.
-said Márki-Zay, who stated the belief that at least 300,000 of Jobbik’s voters in 2018 had certainly voted for Our Homeland this time around, but that Fidesz had taken a share of them as well.
These Jobbik voters didn’t go for the united coalition and Ferenc Gyurcsány.
-he commented, promising a more detailed analysis and evaluation at a later time.
Who will be smiling at the end of the day? Prime Minister Viktor Orbán or his upstart challenger, Péter Márki-Zay? Can smaller parties Our Homeland and the Hungarian Two-Tailed Dog Party (MKKP) scrape together enough votes to make it into Parliament? Follow our continuously-refreshing live blog, together in a special partnership with Hungarian news site Azonnali.hu!
Hungary is holding both parliamentary elections and a national referendum on Sunday, April 3. We’ve covered some of the key details of this year’s election in a previous article.
Under the new electoral system introduced in 2011, victory in Hungary’s 106 individual electoral districts is key to gaining control of the 199-seat National Assembly.
This year, for the first time, Hungary’s smaller opposition parties are running candidates together, under the United for Hungary banner, with the hope that a single candidate will have a better chance of defeating the ruling Fidesz-KDNP coalition in a one-on-one fight.
The final poll conducted by Publicus Institute before the election shows both the government parties and the united opposition both have 47% support among voters who are certain of who they will vote for. But the proportion of undecided voters is quite high, with nearly 28% of those definitely planning to vote either unsure or not willing to share their voting preference.
We’ll be following the action below, providing regular updates from Hungarian news site Azonnali:
Thanks for following along
Looks like we’ll be wrapping up the live blog here. Thanks to all of you who followed along for the past 8 hours or so. Have a great evening!
Dániel Berg: we dealt with issues that weren’t too important to the average voter
At the opposition’s election watch party, Péter Aradi from Azonnali spoke with Dániel Berg, vice-president of the liberal ALDE European political party and former candidate for the Momentum Movement.
In the interview, Berg said that he had believed in an opposition victory, so the election results were a bit of a gut punch, especially when he has to pray for the victory of candidates like the well-known Bernadett Szél.
He also said that the next few years will demand that the opposition remain an active political force, and pointed out three future themes that the opposition had already highlighted during the campaign: the fight against corruption, Western integration, and restoring the rule of law.
At the same time, he also criticized the opposition for perhaps addressing too many issues that were not important to the average voter.
András Jámbor on where the election went wrong for the opposition
András Jámbor, the former editor-in-chief of Mérce and the next Member of Parliament for Budapest’s Józsefváros and Ferencváros neighborhoods, gave a frank interview to Azonnali about the election results.
Jámbor believes that the election slipped away from the opposition because they lost Jobbik supporters from the lower and middle-class who had voted for the Hungarian Socialist Party prior to 2006.
He also offered some criticism of the opposition by saying that its politicians have to do more than than just going onto ATV‘s news programs and talking.
Viktor Orbán delivers a victory speech
We look pretty good, we looked better and better, maybe we never looked as good as we have tonight.
-said Viktor Orbán as he began his victory speech with his standard phrases.
The Prime Minister claimed that “we had such a victory that it can even be seen from the moon, but certainly from Brussels.”
He then thanked Hungarians across the border in particular for their support. To ethnic Hungarians in the Transcarpathian region of Ukraine, Orbán said, “the motherland is with you.” He then thanked every Hungarian citizen.
But Orbán noted that their great victory cautioned them to be modest. As he stated, they had already defeated the opposition in every way possible, whether in individual races or collectively. And despite the largest political force ever being arrayed against them, they still won their biggest victory.
Huge international centers of power were mobilized against us. To them, we say that every penny was wasted. The Hungarian left was the worst investment of Uncle Gyuri’s life. For 12 years they’ve just taken his money for nothing.
-said Orbán in reference to George Soros, who provided Fidesz with financial assistance in its early formative years.
He then said “the international left, the media, Brussels, and even the Ukrainian President” had all been against Fidesz.
As for the future of Christian Democrat politics, Orbán declared, “this is not the past, but the future.”
The only question now is whether Fidesz will end up with a two-thirds majority
Even before the election, most polls showed a strong likelihood of victory for Fidesz, with the only question being whether Hungary’s ruling party would win a two-thirds majority of seats in Parliament.
Publicus Institute estimated that Fidesz would win the most mandates, predicting a total of 129 seats for the Fidesz-KDNP ruling parties.
But with 71.01% of the vote already counted, it appears possible that they could even win another two-thirds majority in Parliament. The party that has been governing since 2010 would currently win 134 mandates in the 199-seat National Assembly.
Incomplete results for the party lists currently show:
Fidesz-KDNP – 54.45%
United for Hungary – 33.72%
Our Homeland – 6.40%
Hungarian Two-Tailed Dog Party (MKKP) – 3.06%
As we have previously cautioned, the so-called fractional votes have not yet been added to these numbers, and in many electoral districts there are still many votes to be counted.
Opposition candidate Jámbor seems likely to prevail in Budapest’s Józsefváros
With 89.29% of the vote counted, András Jámbor has increased his advantage over Fidesz’s Botond Sára, making it more and more likely that the opposition candidate will win this hard-fought race.
Jámbor is currently standing at 47.60% of the vote, with Sára at 42.5%. In addition to the two main contenders, two other serious candidates in the race are currently under 5% of the total vote: Dóra Dúró, MP from Our Country, is at 4.87%, while MKKP Co-Chair Zsuzsanna Döme is standing at 4.33%.
If these two still want to be MPs in the next Parliament, they will have to do so from their party’s list, if they can reach the minimum 5% threshold on their respective party’s lists.
At the moment, Dúró has a much better chance at this than her MKKP rival, as Our Homeland is standing at 6.41% with 71.01% of votes having been counted, while MKKP is only at 3.03%.
János Lázár defeats Péter Márki-Zay, wins another four years in Parliament
With 95.41% of the vote having been counted in Csongrád-Csanád County’s 4th electoral district, it now appears certain that János Lázár has defeated the opposition’s candidate for prime minister, Péter Márki-Zay, in their race for an individual parliamentary mandate.
Lázár won the race 52.08% to Márki-Zay’s 39.92%. Otherwise, Lázár appears to have received fewer votes this year than four years ago. Whereas 29,534 people voted for him at that time, only 26,997 did so this year.
If Márki-Zay still wishes to be a Member of Parliament, he will have to do so from the united opposition’s party list, and a special election will have to be held for his current position as mayor of Hódmezővásárhely.
Opposition watch party is like the last day of Sziget Festival
The mood is not great at the opposition watch party at City Park, to put it mildly.
Azonnali met with Budapest Deputy Mayor Gábor Kerpel-Fronius, who said that he was not the designated spokesperson for the campaign, and he would be keeping it that way.
People are slowly heading out of City Park. Perhaps it’s not an exaggeration to say that the results are not the best from their point of view, and they can’t even go anywhere to warm up.
Where things stand with 36% of the vote counted
With more than a third of the vote, 36.32%, having been counted, it seems that there are hardly any electoral districts outside of the capital where the Fidesz candidate is not leading.
Opposition candidates are only leading in three of these places:
Tamás Mellár in Pécs-01
Sándor Szabó in Szeged-01
Gergely Kálló in Dunaújváros.
Márki-Zay likely to go down in Hódmezővásárhely
János Lázár continues to lead comfortably against the mayor of Hódmezővásárhely, Péter Márki-Zay.
With 74.31% of the vote counted, the former Fidesz chancellor minister has 51.50% of the vote, while the opposition’s candidate for prime minister is at 40.37%.
Lázár’s vote share in 2018 was 51.78%, meaning his support in the electoral district hs remained relatively stable.
With few votes counted, Fidesz currently has a two-thirds majority
With 28.08% of the party votes having been counted, and at the current status of the individual electoral districts, Fidesz would gain 134 seats in the new Parliament, meaning another two-thirds majority, while the opposition would have 57 seats and far-right Our Homeland would get 8 mandates.
The race between the party lists as it currently stands:
Fidesz-KDNP – 59.36%
United for Hungary – 29.44%
Our Homeland – 6.59%
Hungarian Two-Tailed Dog Party (MKKP) – 2.46%
As previously noted, the “fractional votes” have not yet been added, and most votes have not been counted. Data typically arrives first from smaller towns. At the moment, it appears likely that Fidesz will win the election, but a two-thirds majority is not at all certain.
Opposition currenly leading in Budapest
Based on the first partial vote returns, Fidesz-KDNP candidates are leading in only three of Budapest’s 18 individual electoral districts:
Kristóf Szathmáry in the 13th electoral district (District XVI)
Mónika Dunai in the 14th (District XVII)
Zsolt Wintermantel in the 11th (District IV)
Candidates from the united opposition lead in the other 13 constituencies of the capital city.
Huge joy at Our Homeland election watch party
The far-right Our Homeland welcomed the first partial results of the election at its watch party, which appears to show that it will be will the third-largest political force in the next four years. Party members and sympathizers greeted the news with large ovations for all of its politicians that have gotten over 5% of the vote so far. Party Chair László Toroczkai currently has 18% in Csongrád-Csanád County’s 2nd electoral district, which received a huge cheer when it appeared on the screen.
First numbers give Fidesz a commanding lead
The National Election Office has published its first data. With 16.76% of the vote counted, here’s where the parties stand:
Fidesz-KDNP – 61.93%
United for Hungary – 27.06%
Our Homeland – 6.61%
Hungarian Two-Tailed Dog Party – 2.28%
As a word of caution, it must be added that, few votes have been counted yet, and so-called “fractional votes” have yet to be included.
Hungarians in London kicked out of their planned election party venue
Although they had even rented a projector for their election party, the venue unexpectedly closed at 7:00pm and kicked everyone out. So now Hungarians in London are now on the street waiting to see what will happen next.
“Fuck, what assholes.”
-a guest was heard to say (presumably in Hungarian).
At the moment, no one knows if there will be an actual election party in London, but Tamás Csillag pointed out that Momentum did not organize this, and even they don’t understand what’s going on.
Gergely Gulyás: High turnout gives the new Parliament strong legitimacy
Shortly after 7:00pm, Gergely Gulyás and Zsolt Semjén appeared at the Fidesz election party to thank everyone for their participation in the election.
Gergely Gulyás said that the high turnout rate gives the new Parliament strong legitimacy.
Responding to a question from Azonnali about allegations of electoral fraud, the minister said that the majority of these weren’t attributed to the ruling party, but to the political opposition.
As an example, he mentioned a company associated with former prime minister Gordon Bajani, which had sent unsolicited text messages to a number of voters.
Regarding the discarded and partially-burned ballots found by the side of the road near Târgu Mureş, he reiterated that it was an “opposition provocation.”
As to the question of whether he could imagine the opposition gaining access to these ballots, he said that among the hundreds of thousands of registered cross-border voters, there were certainly some who support the opposition.
Turnout data right before polls close show 2022 slightly behind 2018
Turnout statistics at 6:30pm show that a total of 5,216,424 Hungarians have cast their vote, making up 67.8% of the electorate. That’s just 0.3 percentage points lower than the turnout rate in 2018, when 68.1% of voters went to the polls.
Four years ago, Fidesz was pleased with the higher participation rate, but who it will benefit this year will only be revealed a few hours from now.
Where things stand at 7:00pm
It’s now past 7:00pm, and the election has officially ended. However, those who got in line before 7:00pm are still allowed to cast their vote.
We’re now waiting for the first results to start arriving. Since the referendum was also held together with the parliamentary elections, it will presumably take more time to count the votes, so feel free to put on another pot of coffee.
Turnout at 5:00pm: 62.92%
Turnout for this year’s election is still lower than what it was in 2018. By 5:00pm, 4,840,928 people, or 62.92% of all registered voters, had gone to the polls.
In 2018, 63.2% of voters had voted by that time, meaning that there is only a hair’s breadth of difference between this year and four years ago in terms of voter participation in the elections.
Back in 2002, however, following lunchtime on Sunday, even more people had gone to the polls. By 5:00pm on election day that year, 65.56% of voters had cast their vote. By the time polling stations closed for the day, turnout had reached a final 70.53%.
At the moment, it doesn’t appear that turnout will break any records this year. But at the current pace, we can still count on it being very high by the time the polls close at 7:00pm.
Nothing happening in Bálna yet
Fidesz is awaiting the election results at Budapest’s Bálna, but at the moment there aren’t any politicians or pro-government celebrities to be seen.
Compared to the party’s last such event back in May 2019, when Fidesz awaited the results of the European Parliament elections, prices have inflated significantly. Azonnali‘s correspondent recalls that they only asked for 500 Ft. for a sandwich at that time, compared to 1,090 Ft. now. However, the cost of a Coke remains rock solid at 490 Ft.
Viktor Orbán and Péter Szijjártó personally call voters in image videos
On Saturday, Minister of Justice Judit Varga posted a video of herself calling up voters in the party’s database to help drive turnout for the Fidesz candidate in the Kiskunhalas electoral district. And now Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó also shared a video on Sunday afternoon as voting takes place, in which he talks to a voter and then comments on the result with all the half-heartedness of a call center trainee.
Viktor Orbán does this slightly more professionally, like everything, and even manages to throw in a joke at the end. The Prime Minister’s image video is a refreshing change from the posts he shared earlier in the day that the Communists would all be voting, and that the stakes were whether Hungary would be swept into the war or not.
The biggest question is which side is better at turning out their voters in the remaining hours
It is almost a cliché to say that elections are decided by undecided voters. While this is partly true, it is not as well-known that most undecided voters have a political preference, and what they are really undecided about is whether they will show up at the polls or not.
It is therefore crucial that parties speak to this not-at-all homogenous gorup of voters as well as to their base. They can best be persuaded to head to the polls through easily-consumable, simple messages, and “negative party thinking” is the most effective tool to achieve this.
In this light, the opposition made a tactical mistake at the beginning of the campaign, when its main message was that Fidesz was lying about the opposition wanting to take away family-related social benefits and end the utility price cut policy. This messaging didn’t give them an opportunity to communicate their own alternative to voters who are less politically-active.
But Fidesz’s “forward instead of backward” slogan wasn’t all that enticing either to undecided voters inclined to vote for the ruling parties but not completely convinced they should take part in the elections.
The two sides formed better messages in regards to the war in Ukraine: the opposition has communicated that Viktor Orbán and Fidesz are on Putin’s side in the conflict and that they represent Western values, while Fidesz-KDNP has communicated that the opposition would draw Hungary into the war if it comes into power.
Both messages are simple, easy to understand, and offer clear value propositions. The fact that these messages do not exactly match the reality of the situation is another matter.
The truth is that the Orbán government has voted for every EU sanction against the Russian aggressor, and that the opposition would not send Hungarian troops to Ukraine unless the NATO military alliance decides to do so. And if NATO does decide to send troops, presumably the Orbán government will also do the same.
Turnout 52.75% at 3:00pm
The National Election Office announced its 3:00pm turnout data, showing that 52.75% of eligible voters had already cast a vote. Voter turnout for the national referendum was less than 52.18% by 3:00pm.
Fidesz voters view Viktor Orbán as nearly perfect, while opposition sympathizers are more critical of Péter Márki-Zay, according to a new Závecz Research poll commissioned by 24.hu. Because of this disparity, the Prime Minister performed somewhat better overall than his opponent, but was also seen as more corrupt.
Respondents were asked to rank Viktor Orbán and his main challenger Péter Márki-Zay on a scale from 1 to 5 on the basis of various attributes.
When asked about leadership skills, Viktor Orbán got an average of 3.3, but Péter Márki-Zay scored a lower average of 2.6. On the question of whether the politician “is able to protect Hungary,” Orbán’s average was 3.2 and Márki-Zay’s was 2.5.
One important caveat is that the poll was conducted between February 17-23, so respondents were not influenced by political reactions to the outbreak of hostilities in neighboring Ukraine.
Regarding economic expertise, the Prime Minister was assessed at 3.1, compared to 2.7 for the united opposition’s candidate. But with the poll’s margin of error at 0.4%, the difference between these two scores is negligible.
Márki-Zay seen as less corrupt than Orbán
However, Péter Márki-Zay clearly outperformed Viktor Orbán in at least one area. When asked how corrupt each politician was, with a lower score meaning “less corrupt” and a higher one meaning “more corrupt,” the mayor of Hódmezővásárhely got an average of 2.1, while the Fidesz president’s average score was 3.
The main reason for the difference between the assessment of the two candidates appears to be that Fidesz supporters have more love for their prime ministerial candidate more than opposition supporters do for theirs.
Fidesz voters gave the Prime Minister a score of just under 5 on average, while opposition voters were more critical of Péter Márki-Zay, giving him an overall average score of just under 4.
A new poll released yesterday shows support for Fidesz-KDNP among Hungarians in Transylvania at 90.8%, reports news portal maszol.ro. This is close to what polls found four years ago, as well as in the run-up to the April 3 parliamentary elections.
Polling company SoDiSo Research also found that the opposition’s joint party list could expect to win 1.9% of the vote in Transylvania, while 7.3% of those polled are still undecided as to which party list they will cast their vote for.
The leader of the opposition coalition, Péter Márki-Zay, is known to only 61.8% of Hungarian voters in Transylvania, according to the poll. Just 7.6% of respondents trust him, and 54.2% hold a negative opinion of the prime ministerial candidate for United for Hungary.
The title of the least-liked Hungarian politician in Transylvania, however, goes to Ferenc Gyurcsány. 91.5% of Transylvanian Hungarians are familiar with the the chair of the Democratic Coalition, but 81.6% do not have a good opinion on him.
The poll was conducted between January 21-February 17, 2022, through a random sample of 1,309 people, and with an estimated 2.8% margin of error.
Péter Márki-Zay, the united opposition’s candidate for prime minister, has filed a complaint with the Hódmezővásárhely prosecutor’s office because he believes that allegations leveled by Viktor Orbán and the pro-government media meet the criteria of spreading fear and incitement.
At a press conference on Friday, the prime ministerial candidate said that statements by Fidesz politicians and their media qualify as incitement of hatred, such as claiming that he will take away the 13th month pension benefit from retirees. The opposition actually promised the opposite of this in its platform, but Fidesz’s speeches are causing tension that is directed against the opposition community and its politicians.
However, Márki-Zay said that the charge of spreading fear is even more serious. The opposition politician again denied that he would send Hungarian soldiers to fight in Ukraine, claiming that he had never said so.
These allegations by members of the government and pro-government media are especially contradictory, said Márki-Zay, because Hungary is doing exactly what they are accusing him of: allowing arms to be transferred to Ukraine. In addition, Defense Minister Tibor Benkő has said that Hungary’s security is ensured by NATO.
Moreover, Viktor Orbán is not even able to protect Hungarian airspace from a drone that passed through it, said the opposition politician. He added that government statements were only good for instilling fear in people.
Márki-Zay expressed the hope that the prosecutor’s office would storm into the Prime Minister’s Office in the Carmelite Monastery after his files his complaint.
A few hours before Márki-Zay’s press conference, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó wrote in a Facebook post that the “Hungarian left” continues to demand that “Hungary supply arms to the war in the neighboring country.”
“Our position, however, is clear. Despite demands from the opposition, we not supply arms to the war in Ukraine,” Szijjártó said.
The prime ministerial candidate for the political opposition, Péter Márki-Zay, appeared on state-run television channel M1 five minutes before 8:00am on Wednesday morning for his first, and thus far, only appearance on public television.
Márki-Zay was theoretically supposed to be interviewed during the five minutes he was given, but Judit Titanilla Tari mostly just looked at her tablet computer as the opposition leader gave his monologue.
Thank you very much for the opportunity of having the opposition speak for five minutes once in the past four years.
-he began, adding that he represents 2.5-3 million people, and that he is more Christian and conservative than Viktor Orbán.
Márki-Zay also praised Orbán, emphasizing that he voted for the Fidesz leader in 2010 because he had promised accountability and cutting off the hands of those who reach into the common till.
After that, Márki-Zay boasted of his achievements as mayor in Hódmezővásárhely over the past four years, then said it was actually Viktor Orbán who was sending weapons to Ukraine, while he did not intend to:
This is the man who, in 12 years of waging war, has lost all of them: the lives of 44,000 Hungarians also regretted that he wasn’t able to deal with the Covid epidemic either.
-Márki-Zay said of Orbán, adding that he would end compulsory vaccination, make minimum wage-earners exempt from personal taxes, and maintain the 13th monthly pension benefit, as well as raise it according to Swiss indexing.
The Hódmezővásárhely mayor took advantage of the time he was allotted, mentioning topics as diverse as improving health care, police salaries, adopting the euro, and sustainable utility price cuts.
For me, the most important thing is where I want to raise my seven children to be Hungarian, so that young people should not have to go abroad to earn a living.
-said Péter Márki-Zay, adding that it was not young people who should go to Europe, but Europe that should come here. The presenter then thanked him at the end of the speech.
Péter Márki-Zay’s appearance on M1 can be seen here (in Hungarian):
The opposition alliance, United for Hungary, held a large rally in Budapest on the afternoon of March 15 to commemorate the country’s national holiday. Thousands of people came out to listen to music and listen to nine speakers.
Most of the speakers represented the coalition of Hungary’s main political opposition, but Donald Tusk, the Polish president of the European People’s Party in the European Parliament, also spoke at the event. The final speech at the event was given by Péter Márki-Zay, the candidate for prime minister of the opposition.
“Generations evoke the heroism of 1848, 1956, and 1989, the stand people took, their struggle and freedom,” began Péter Márki-Zay in the substantive part of his speech at the opposition’s rally on March 15. “A later age looks upon them with respect, even though they failed in a heroic fight,” the politician said.
This is us, the Hungarian people.
-he said, adding that during the revolutions, the freedom-loving part of the world looked upon these people with admiration and compassion.
We were proud to be Hungarian, they loved us wherever we went… It was good to be Hungarian anywhere in the world, we could be proud because we were on the right side of history.
But today, 33 years after the change of regime, the world no longer sees us as one people, but “we are only a single face.” As he claimed, “a man has expropriated us,” and if anyone says they are Hungarian anywhere in the world, this face now appears in front of them, as it has for the last 12 years, obviously referring to Viktor Orbán, though not referring to him by by name.
In reference to the Prime Minister, Márki-Zay said that Orban “had committed a terrible sin against the people here at home as well,” because he had divided the country, created wedges between people, and poisoned the words “people” and “nation.”
In 20 days, we have to vote for whether we want to be a people again, a nation, and not outsiders in our own country. We cannot be outsiders compared to those whom ‘this particular man’ calls a nation.
Because of Orbán’s selfishness and desire for power, said Péter Márki-Zay, we have “voluntarily chose the backward East over the developing West,” and “voluntarily returned to history’s bad side.”
“The election has never been so simple”
Referring to the parliamentary elections on April 3, the opposition’s candidate for prime minister said that “the election has never been so simple,” because we have only one good choice: choosing Europe over the East, choosing freedom over slavery and despotism.
Péter Márki-Zay then talked about his personal career, about how he never thought he would stand in front of so many people as a prime ministerial candidate and that half the country would hate him, while the other half expect hope and redemption from him.
That he gets vulgar remarks from strangers he has never hurt him, and never will. And that he meets those who have become uncertain due to propaganda, who wonder whether it is worth replacing Orbán’s regime with those who can be tempted by power, those who have overcome their extremist past and now do not accept any form of extremism.
“is it worth it?” he asked, for someone who “makes careless statements that can be misunderstood and, where appropriate, rightly criticized,” he said, quite obviously referring to himself and his statements that have caused controversy.
To all of this, Márki-Zay said that the opposition is strong because it is diverse, and that what they have built over the past 4 years offers a more peaceful and secure country even for those who do not vote for them. Hungary’s alliance with NATO and the EU will never be betrayed, he claimed.
What they promise
The list of “why will it get better” then came with a number of semi-tangible promises: they believe in a country, said Péter Márki-Zay, where
police are respected,
everyone is equal before the law,
affordable housing for young people is provided,
vaccination is not mandatory,
doctors are not legally mandated to treat patients,
nurses have a secure livelihood,
doctors make decisions on health care,
tests are free, and not parking,
teachers earn more than their recent graduates,
they are free to choose textbooks that don’t even need to be printed,
no extra taxes are put on food staples and the state does not take any money from those at the lowest income levels,
and benefits that have been unchanged for 12 years are doubled.
We believe in a Western country where the youth should not have to go to Europe, but Europe comes here. Until now, they have voted with their feet and gone West, not East. If the power of love overcomes the love of power, many of the 800,000 Hungarians who have gone abroad will return home so they can raise their children as Hungarian.
-said Péter Márki-Zay.
“I believes in miracles”
The mayor of Hódmezővásárhely believes that good always wins in the end, and that our country cannot be on the losing side forever, as “even those who vote against us want Hungary to advance.”
In Vásárhely, we proved that not every politician steals, that with honest leadership, the mayor does not get wealthy, but rather the city. That people are not judged by their skin color or political colors, that companies win tenders in an open competition, that a honest public figure does not look down from the Castle, but walks among the people and sometimes bends down to pick up their trash.
-stated Péter Márki-Zay, adding:
I believe in the future of Hungary, and yes, I believe in miracles. I have already experienced three times that alliances are capable or miracles.
-claimed the politician, referring to his previous election victories. He added that even public polling bears this out.
I ask you to believe in the majority of sober Hungarians, to believe in a rising Hungary. Hungary belongs to all of us. In three weeks, everyone has to convince three people to vote for us, and on April 3, we will have a two-thirds victory to replace the most corrupt government in our thousand-year history, the Orbán government.
In his final remarks, Péter Márki-Zay then said:
We believe that the young people of April will now bring forth a free Hungary and convince their parents and grandparents. We believe that the power belongs to the people, that on April 3 Hungary will return to the good side of history. We will finally be a winner, we will be a people again, we will be one nation again, and we can once again proudly say anywhere in the world, ‘I am Hungarian.’
We believe that out of the deep pit where Viktor Orbán has taken the country, the way out is not to the right, or to the left, but only upwards.
-said the opposition politician, echoing his campaign slogan of “Just upwards!”