BUDAPEST, HUNGARY – Fidesz and the united opposition parties find themselves facing off in the first competitive and nationally relevant election since the oppositional landslide a year ago in the municipal elections.
The special election is being held in the Borsod 6 district on Sunday, October 11 to fill the seat of Ferenc Koncz, the Fidesz MP who passed away in a motorcycle accident on July 10.
His daughter, lawyer Zsofia Koncz was picked by Fidesz as the party’s nominee. As a young female candidate, she represents Fidesz’s recent attempts to brand itself as more attractive to younger voters. Her reelection is important to Fidesz, as their two-thirds majority in Parlament rests on the outcome of the election.
The entire Fidesz campaign machine has been deployed to help her, including senior government officials and fancy music videos. The foreign minister visited the District to announce new jobs, and an undersecretary from the ministry of Technology and Innovation gave out free laptops in a highschool.
However, she has not lived in the district for years now, serving at the Hungarian Embassy in Washington D.C. The opposition has hounded her relentlessly as having been parachuted in from Washington D.C. and inheriting the seat from her father.
The main opposition candidate, Ferenc Biro, is a long-time Jobbik member who lost against Ferenc Koncz in 2018. This time, Biro has the entire united opposition parties behind him. The leftist-green mayor of Budapest campaigned for the Biro, and the president of Momentum signed up to be an election monitor.
However, the anti-gypsy and antisemitic comments of Biro have mudded the water around the opposition coalition. Fidesz has been quick to attack the liberal and left parties for backing a “nazi”. While Biro has apologized publicly for his comments, these tensions are foreshadowing what an left-right opposition unity entails.
There are several other minor candidates in the race. Including Adam Toth, nominated by the newly formed ISZOM party of Tibor Szanyi. Szanyi had served as a Socialist MEP, until he returned to Hungary to launch the new party in 2020. ISZOM, the acronym which translates to “I drink” is seen by some as a puppet Fidesz party likely funded to take away votes from the opposition.
With fake parties, government resources used to campaign for Fidesz, tough ethical comprises on the opposition side, the race foreshadows what can be expected in 2022, especially since the Borosd 6 district is a district the opposition needs to win in 2022 if they hope to form a government.
By Viktor Mák
Born in Jászberény in the Hungarian countryside, Viktor Mák studied and worked in the United States. He recently returned to Hungary and finished a degree in Public Administration at the Central European University. During the day, he works in political communication. In his free time busies himself with activism fighting for a quality, well funded and accessible education system in Hungary. Check out his latest articles right here!