Peter Marki-Zay: the outsider who could be dangerous for Viktor Orbán
Hungary’s opposition will be led by conservative Peter Marki-Zay, who is not a supporter. The previously divided opposition now wants to help him replace the right-wing nationalist head of government, Viktor Orbán.
Conservative and non-party Peter Marki-Zay will challenge right-wing nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orbán as an opposition candidate in the 2022 parliamentary elections. The 49-year-old surprisingly won an opposition-run primary with a clear advantage over his Social Democratic rival Klara Dobrev, as the pre-election commission announced Sunday night. Consequently, Marki-Zay obtained 56.71 percent of the votes and Dobrev 43.29 percent.
This was the first time such a code was used in Hungary. Six previously divided opposition parties, from the left-wing green to the right-wing conservative, are supposed to support the winner in the election campaign against Orbán.
“Today we also change the opposition,” said Marki-Zay. The opposition can only defeat Orbán if they work together. “The exit is neither from the right nor from the left, only from above,” he added. He agreed with Dobrev that the cohesion of the opposition could not be destroyed. “This is the little people revolution,” emphasized Marki-Zay. Young people in particular would have made the decision for him. The median age of his voters was under 40.
Opposition Candidate Addresses Left and Right Voters
Marki-Zay’s strengths: As a conservative from the Hungarian lowlands, avowed Catholic, and father of seven, he is able to appeal to the country’s voters who are conservative but no longer so convinced of the Orbán government. At the same time, he does not piss off the urban voters, rather on the left, of the big cities, because his conservatism is combined with an open mind, tolerance and capacity for compromise.
Marki-Zay studied economics, electrical engineering, and history. From 2004 to 2009 he lived with his family in Canada and the United States. He only got into politics in 2018. At that time he won, also surprisingly, the mayoral election in Hodmezövasarhely. Until then, the place was considered an impregnable stronghold of the Orban Fidesz party. The following year he repeated the electoral victory.
Turnout in the area code hit a record: 662,016 voters voted within the six days through Saturday night. 633,811 citizens participated in the first round of the primary elections at the end of September. This value has already exceeded the expectations of the organizers. There were five main candidates to choose from at the time. In the first round, citizens also voted in 94 out of 106 electoral districts on the respective common direct candidates for parliament.
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