Hungary opposition wins Budapest mayoral race

Hungary opposition wins Budapest mayoral race

Hungarian united opposition won the race for the post of Budapest mayor and those of some major cities while the ruling party Fidesz won the majority of mayor posts of smaller cities, according to the results of the National Election Office (NVI) here on Sunday.

With most ballots counted, Karacsony, 44, had the support of more than 50 per cent of voters in the capital, compared with just over 44 per cent for Tarlos, 71, mayor of Budapest since 2010.

Outside the capital tight races are also forecast in several now Fidesz-run cities like Miskolc, Pecs, and Szombathely, as well as in most of Budapest's 23 district municipalities.

Critics say some of those reforms helped Fidesz to rout opposition parties at parliamentary, European and local elections despite around half of the electorate often voting against it.

"Budapest will be green and free, we will bring it back to Europe", Karacsony said, comparing his victory to the loss of Istanbul by the ruling AKP in Turkey.

He has also cruised to consecutive landslide victories at the polls, partly due to electoral rule changes he oversaw.

Preliminary results showed Fidesz dominating in the countryside, where Orban's brand of Christian-conservative "illiberal democracy" remains popular.

"The government respects the decision of Budapest's citizens", a government spokesman told local media.

The elections were seen as a chance to wrest power from Mr Orban and Fidesz, which holds a large majority in parliament.

Parties from left to right joined forces in an effort to wrest control of Fidesz-held municipalities and prevent an electoral rout for the first time in nearly a decade. In this municipal election, agreements were struck in three-quarters of the country, and even where Fidesz candidates won, the opposition often increased their share of the vote.

Opposition candidates received the mayoral streak in Budapest, the capital, and had been moreover projected to gain in 10 of the nation's 23 obliging cities.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's dominant right-wing Fidesz party was facing a challenge Sunday from opposition parties who are backing joint candidates in many cities in the country's nationwide local election. In 2014, the opposition received gorgeous three of those races.

"This election proves that opposition cooperation works, the opposition reached its best result in years with the new strategy", political analyst Andras Biro-Nagy told Agence France-Presse news agency.

"Budapest is the big prize, but the breakthrough in numerous provincial cities is at least as important", said Biro-Nagy.

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