Conservative politician Péter Márki-Zay is set to win the race to become the Hungarian opposition’s joint candidate for prime minister, according to early results published late Sunday.
Many left-wing and liberal opposition supporters backed Márki-Zay, who currently serves as mayor of the southern city of Hódmezővásárhely, in the hope that he could appeal to undecided Hungarians and voters who have become disenchanted with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his ruling Fidesz party.
The 49-year-old father of seven defeated MEP Klára Dobrev from the left-liberal Democratic Coalition in a runoff vote where over 600,000 Hungarians cast ballots in person and online.
With about 60 percent of votes counted, Márki-Zay won 58 percent of the vote, while Dobrev took 42 percent. On Sunday evening, the MEP congratulated Márki-Zay on his victory.
A diverse group of six opposition parties has come together in an effort to defeat Orbán, and organized primaries to select joint candidates both in individual electoral districts and for the post of prime minister. The alliance came about due to concerns that Hungary’s current electoral system — designed by Fidesz — has made it very difficult for opposition political parties to challenge the country’s powerful prime minister if they run in the election separately.
In the second round of the primary, a host of liberal, left-wing and centrist figures — including Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony — lined up behind Márki-Zay, arguing that he has the best chance of defeating Orbán.
Speaking to supporters in Budapest, Márki-Zay vowed to work to change Hungary’s political culture and called for the country to unite.
“We want to build a new Hungary,” he said.
Full results are expected later in the evening.
Hungary is expected to hold its next general election in spring 2022.
HUNGARY NATIONAL PARLIAMENT ELECTION POLL OF POLLS
For more polling data from across Europe visit POLITICO Poll of Polls.
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