Hungary's opposition takes Budapest

With the help of a broad alliance Hungary's opposition won the mayorship of Budapest and other large cities in municipal elections on Sunday. What do the results mean for Prime Minister Orbán's Fidesz party?

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Adevărul (RO) /

Fidesz has suffered significant losses

The opposition and government camps are both claiming the elections as a victory, Adevărul observes:

“The candidate of the united opposition has won in Budapest. With 14 of the capital's 23 districts they have a comfortable majority. Ten of the country's 23 biggest cities are now ruled by the opposition. At the same time, Fidesz is also saying that they came out ahead in Sunday's elections since they garnered just over 50 percent of the vote, and half of the municipalities with over 5,000 inhabitants have a Fidesz mayor. But compared with the party's almost complete dominance before the vote, Fidesz's victory is in fact a considerable loss. If the opposition can prove itself as a political force, the end of Victor Orbán's era will have been ushered in Budapest.”

Polityka (PL) /

A serious blow for the oligarchs

Orbán's party will feel the financial effects of the election, Polityka predicts:

“For Fidesz, the loss of influence in the big cities means not only a loss of votes, but also a loss of financial revenues from bidding procedures for businesspeople who are friends with Viktor Orbán. It's no coincidence that the shares of the company belonging to the richest of them - Lőrinec Mészaro, the former mayor of the prime minister's home town - have started to plunge. Analyst Dominik Héjj was quick to tweet that this drop was related to the tenders that the oligarch had won until now.”

Die Presse (AT) /

Orbán still has the country firmly in his grip

Die Presse explains why the power of the opposition mayors is limited:

“Just because Budapest now has a green mayor and the opposition has won four other big cities, it doesn't mean that Viktor Orbán's Fidesz party is on the way out by a long shot. Not even a pornographic orgy deterred Fidesz supporters from re-electing their scandal-ridden mayor in Györ. That says all there is to say about the Christian values that Orbán's Fidesz purportedly upholds. No, Orbán still has Hungary firmly in his grip, and Fidesz has the say in the towns and the majority of cities. And if the mayor of Budapest tries to rebel, his funding will be promptly cut off.”

Mandiner (HU) /

Competition has returned to politics

News website Mandiner, which is close to the government, has advice for both sides:

“The opposition must once again learn how to manage cities and districts, take responsible decisions, plan a budget, and administer and develop residential areas. For its part the government must once again learn how to engage in true dialogue, how to cooperate, and if necessary how to reach meaningful compromises with its opponents. Both sides, but particularly the government, which established the current system and has enjoyed its advantages, must now rethink many of their operating principles. ... The bottom line is that competition has returned to local politics in Hungary. And that is both good and healthy.”