Dobrev wins 1st round of opposition primaries


Klára Dobrev

Photo by Democratic Coalition

Democratic Coalition (DK) candidate and European Parliament Vice-president Klára Dobrev emerged as the winner of the first round of the opposition's primary process aimed at picking Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's challenger in next year's general election. She is set to face Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony, and Hódmezővásárhely Mayor Péter Márki-Zay in the second round later in October.

Some 633,811 people cast their votes in the primary according to data published by 

Dobrev received 214,319 votes (34,76%), while Gergely Karácsony, who was nominated by the Socialist Party (MSZP), Dialogue for Hungary (P), and Hungary's Green Party (LMP) got a total of 168,396 votes (27,31%).

In third place, Péter Márki-Zay of Everybody's Hungary Movement (MMM) received 125,944 votes (20,43%), greatly overperforming polls. A poll by Civitas conducted in August predicted that he would receive about 11% of votes.

Some 86,909 people (14.1%) cast their votes for Péter Jakab, the head of the right-wing party Jobbik, who did not make it into the second round of the primary.

Momentum president András Fekete-Győr received the lowest amount of votes, winning the support of just 20,944 people (3.4%). 

Reactions from the candidates

"A historic success with a historic turnout! We won Hungary's first countrywide primary election. And next spring, we will defeat Viktor Orbán together once and for all," Dobrev, who is also the wife of former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány, wrote in a Facebook post yesterday.

In an episode of online political show Partizán, Karácsony noted that he will negotiate with Péter Márki-Zay about cooperation in the second round. The Mayor of Budapest claimed that if he withdrew his candidacy, it would not necessarily help Márki-Zay's chances, because Karácsony's voters' second preference is Klára Dobrev rather than Péter Márki-Zay.

"If I become prime minister, Péter Márki-Zay could be anything in my government, let's say deputy prime minister," he said on yesterday's episode of Partizán.

Márki-Zay, who was also a guest on yesterday's episode, noted he does not think that withdrawing in favor of Karácsony is unfathomable. However, he also argued that "together with the Jobbik and Momentum voters, I can secure the highest support in the second round out of the three remaining candidates."

He also noted that he does not consider Dobrev to be a politician who would be able to reach enough people outside her own committed camp to lead the opposition to victory against Fidesz in 2022.

In a Facebook video published yesterday, Jobbik president Jakab said, "Huge congratulations to the candidates for prime minister who have made it to the second round and will compete for the right to challenge Viktor Orbán next year. Whichever one of them wins, I will give my full support in the fight for a change of government."

Momentum head Fekete-Győr, also a guest on yesterday's Partizán episode, noted that "My result is poor, a clear failure as a candidate for prime minister." However, he also explained that candidates of his party managed to win in a considerable number of electoral districts.

DK, Jobbik win most electoral districts

In the first round of primaries, voters also had a chance to vote for their preferred MP candidate in a total of 106 electoral districts across the country.

According to a report by online news site Telex, DK managed to win 32 of these districts, while Jobbik clinched 29. In third place, MSZP took 18 districts. Momentum candidates received the most votes in 15 electoral districts, including five in Budapest, more than any other party. Dialogue won in seven districts, while LMP triumphed in five.

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