- Title: Hungary opposition challenges Orban's party in Budapest mayoral contest
- Date: 13th October 2019
- Summary: OPPOSITION POSTER ON LAMPPOST
- 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: LVA004B0XJQ61
- 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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