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Opposition parties show rare unity in local by-election

While unity among left-wing and liberal opposition parties is still lacking at national level, cooperation appears much smoother at local level as a council by-election this weekend in Solymár, northwest of the capital, sees a broad coalition lining up behind an independent candidate in a bid to replace the departing Christian Democrat (KDNP) councilor.

An across-board cooperation of the Socialist Party (MSzP), Democratic Coalition (DK), Together (Együtt), Dialogue for Hungary (Párbeszéd), LMP and Momentum are backing independent Zsuzsanna Kárpáti to replace Gergely Gaal at the by-election in the 6th electoral ward of Solymár on December 10.  The by-election is taking place after Gaal resigned from the local council to take up a new mandate as a member of Parliament.

Although in itself the local electoral ward is tiny, online news portal index.hu notes that the cooperation is significant as both LMP and Momentum have hitherto declared their complete independence of other political parties.

Balázs Bárány, a member of the MSzP presidium and local councilor in Solymár, welcomed the move, suggesting that all parties should "draw the appropriate conclusion" with respect to the parliamentary general elections in 2018.

"I think that our best chance of achieving change next year is if we can put forward strong joint challengers as widely as possible, who are acceptable for everyone, against Fidesz candidates," Bárány wrote on his Facebook page.

Index.hu said the chances of the independent candidate are increased by the absence of a candidate put forward by far-right party Jobbik, although it adds that Kárpáti will still have her work cut out as Gaal achieved a majority of 61.9% in 2014.