- Title: Hungary opposition challenges Orban's party in Budapest mayoral contest
- Date: 13th October 2019
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Hungarian) BUDAPEST RESIDENT, LASZLO NADAS, SAYING: "The stakes are not just about the local elections but whether we can steer away the huge majority of the right wing." ELECTION POSTERS (SOUNDBITE) (Hungarian) BUDAPEST RESIDENT, AGNES URGYAN, SAYING: "The hospitals are in a terrible state, someone who has been in a hospital could see the untenable conditions. But they (the government) keep building football stadiums instead of hospitals."
- Embargoed: 27th October 2019 13:25
- Keywords: Hungary local election in Hungary Vikor Orban mayor of Budapest
- Location: BUDAPEST, HUNGARY
- City: BUDAPEST, HUNGARY
- Country: Hungary
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA005B0XJQ61
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Turn-out has been higher than at the previous local election in Hungary as by early afternoon more 34% of voters had cast their votes on Sunday (October 13).
Hungary's opposition could score its biggest political triumph in a decade if liberal challenger Gergely Karacsony upsets Istvan Tarlos for Budapest mayor at a Sunday election, although all fresh polls show the Fidesz-backed incumbent narrowly ahead.
The local government election will not weaken Prime Minister Viktor Orban's grip on power as his government is bolstered by a booming economy, a record-low unemployment rate and double-digit wage rises over the past years.
But a come-from-behind victory by 44-year-old Karacsony, the mayor of a Budapest district, would expose cracks in the right-wing leader's backing in the Hungarian capital, where he has faced the biggest protests against his nearly decade-long rule.
At a European Parliament election in May, Orban's Fidesz got 52.6% of votes cast nationwide but just 41.1% in Budapest, where thousands took to the streets over the past years to protest reforms, which Orban's critics say erode democratic standards.
Sunday's vote will also be a key test of an opposition strategy to rally behind a single candidate against Fidesz, which has scored seven consecutive landslide election wins since 2010 at national, municipal and European level.
A survey by pollster Median published this week showed support for 71-year-old Tarlos, Budapest Mayor since 2010, at 33% versus 31% for Karacsony, who has consistently trailed his Fidesz-backed rival in the latest opinion polls.
The next parliamentary election in Hungary is not due until 2022.
(Production: Kriszta Fenyo, Masha Vassilieva)
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