Párbeszéd’s Gergely Karácsony won the preselection vote to determine the left-wing opposition’s candidate for mayor of Budapest, defeating the Socialist Party’s Csaba Horváth. A total of 34,133 valid votes were cast over the course of the week-long ballot, Péter Szigeti, the psephologist asked to oversee the vote and former head of the National Election Committee, told a press conference. Karácsony received 27,598 votes to Horváth’s 6,535, Szigeti said. The preselection had been organised jointly by the Socialist Party, the Democratic Coalition (DK), Párbeszéd and the Solidarity Movement.
In his victory speech, Karácsony said that the goal was now to take Budapest back from ruling Fidesz’s “viceroys” and give it back to the residents. “This day has no loser, except Fidesz,” he said. The mayor of Budapest’s 14th district said the capital had scored a “historic” victory against Fidesz’s “divisive politics”. Karácsony said that starting on Monday, the opposition would use the power of the people against incumbent Budapest Mayor István Tarlós in an effort to change the city.
Congratulating Karácsony, Horváth said in his concession speech that the people of Budapest had chosen their flag bearer. He vowed to support Karácsony, saying that they were both aiming to “liberate” Budapest.
DK’s acting deputy leader Csaba Molnár said Budapesters knew that the incumbent mayor was “a viceroy appointed by the prime minister”. He said the opposition had to nominate a single mayoral candidate to have a shot at unseating Tarlós in the autumn. Párbeszéd MP Olivio Kocsis-Cake said: “The numbers show that the preselection worked.” He said that whereas in Fidesz, positions were decided by a single person, “the democratic side” had conducted a democratic preselection vote.
The ruling Fidesz-Christian Democrat alliance called the preselection “a huge failure”. Lénárd Borbély, the mayor of Budapest’s 21st district for Fidesz, said the past elections had already proven that the opposition did not have a “credible face” it could nominate for Budapest mayor. He said the preselection had failed to draw interest, arguing that only about 2% of Budapest’s residents had taken part in it. Borbély said this meant that the left had trouble mobilising even its own voters.