Hungary opposition wins Budapest in blow for PM Orban

BUDAPEST (AFP) – Hungary’s opposition scored a shock win in the Budapest mayoralty election last Sunday, the first electoral blow for nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban since he came to power in 2010.

The win was “historic” said the pro-European centre-left challenger Gergely Karacsony, 44, who was backed by a wide range of opposition parties from across the political spectrum.

The mild-mannered former political scientist led by 51 per cent of the vote ahead of the incumbent Istvan Tarlos on around 44 per cent, with 82 per cent of votes counted.

In office since 2010, the 71-year-old Tarlos, backed by Orban’s right-wing Fidesz party, congratulated the new mayor by phone, Karacsony told cheering supporters.

“We will take the city from the 20th Century to the 21st,” said the pro-EU Karacsony, who was one of the few opposition politicians to win a district in the last election five years ago.

“Budapest will be green and free, we will bring it back to Europe,” he said.

Karacsony had compared the Budapest race to the Istanbul mayoral election in March, in which the candidate of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party was defeated by the opposition challenger.

Budapest’s mayor candidate of the centre left opposition party Gergely Karacsony addresses the audience after his victory in the local election over the current city Mayor Istvan Tarlos. PHOTO: AFP