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Disgraced Borkai quits Fidesz, stays on as Győr mayor

Freshly reelected Győr Mayor Zsolt Borkai, who attracted international attention with his involvement in a sex and corruption scandal, has announced he will resign his membership of the governing Fidesz party while staying on as mayor, according to Hungarian media reports.

While the scandal tore into Borkaiʼs reputation, it was not enough to stop him from winning another term (image: majorstockphoto / Shutterstock.com)

Borkaiʼs decision follows his Monday meeting in Budapest with Speaker of the National Assembly László Kövér and Fidesz Vice President Gábor Kubatov.

Pro-government daily Magyar Nemzet already hinted at Borkai resigning his party membership after the Budapest meeting, where Kövér acted on behalf of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who is currently on a trip to Azerbaijan.

At a press conference Tuesday, Borkai himself said he wouldnʼt resign as mayor, claiming that he simply cannot do it due to what he termed his strong legitimacy and mandate provided by the election, as it would mean ignoring the trust put in him by the people of Győr, current affairs portal HVG.hu reported.

Borkai as scapegoat?

In the wake of the municipal election results, which saw the opposition making significant gains in multiple cities, especially Budapest, several government-backed district mayors voted out of office in the capital told news site Index.hu that the oppositionʼs successes came as a shock for them.

Attila Ughy, who was voted out in favor of the Socialist candidate in Budapestʼs District 18, told Magyar Nemzet that Borkaiʼs scandal is a hot topic among people.

"In an average discussion at a pub, eight out of ten people know whatʼs going on when Zsolt Borkaiʼs affairs come up," he remarked.

Gergely Gulyás, minister in charge of the Prime Ministerʼs Office, was cited by Index.hu on Tuesday as saying that the Borkai scandal that erupted in the last week of campaigning cost Fidesz at least three, and perhaps five districts in the capital, as well as control of several big cities.

Gulyás claimed that Fidesz mayors had lost in Districts 1, 3 and 8 because of Borkai, while it is also possible that defeats in Districts 2 and 4 were attributable to the scandal.

"There are districts where we feel the result was particularly unfair, and some districts - for example the 8th - where the governing party would have deserved to provide a mayor in perpetuity," he said.