I know that all the national polls show that the government party is holding onto its enormous lead and Tárki, for example, even showed a slight increase in Fidesz's popularity. However, we must keep in mind that the two most recent opinions polls (Tárki and Nézőpont) were taken before the bombshell about the "nationalization" of funds that had been accumulating over the last twelve years in private social security accounts. Also, they were taken before the government's attack on the constitutional court. This morning I noticed what might be a slight, very slight change.
In a surprising number of villages and towns the elections had to be repeated. Most likely because in certain places where Fidesz didn't win or lost by only a small number of votes the election committees allowed a do-over. These elections took place yesterday. In some places the results are not at all revealing because one independent candidate won against another independent candidate. But there are a few places where the results are very interesting.
Let me start with the town of Heves (pop. 11,000). Here the former mayor, Zsigmond Csáki, won. Csáki had been a member of Fidesz but in 2008 he made the mistake of privatizing the local walk-in clinic. Fidesz at that point was dead against any health facility being in private hands and expelled him. Csáki must have been a loyal party member because he even appealed the decision, to no avail. On October 3, Csáki, by now an independent candidate, won the election by only 46 votes over the Fidesz-KDNP candidate Dóra Demeter (Mrs. Korsós). According to the elections committee there might have been illegal influencing of the voters in voting district #9. Surely on behalf of Csáki. It was not a good idea for Fidesz to contest the results because out of 352 votes Csáki won 297, while Mrs. Korsós only 28! That's quite a slap in the face. Thus instead of the original margin of 46 votes Csáki now won by 211 in the town of Heves!
The other contested voting district (number 5) was in district XIX in Budapest. Here on October 3 the MSZP candidate, Krisztián Kránitz, won by only four votes (732 to 728) for a seat on the district council. That's called a tight race, and I am not at all surprised that it had to be repeated. So, it was! The final result: Kránitz received 783 votes against the Fidesz candidate, Gabriella Dódity, who got 566 votes. While only four weeks ago the difference between the two was 4 votes, now it is 217! Perhaps it is indicative of a change of mood in the capital.
The third place where Fidesz lost against an independent candidate at the repeated elections is Ópályi, a larger village of 3,000 people. Out of the 2,231 eligible voters 1,198 voted the second time around and the independent Miklós Erdélyi won by 596 votes against Mrs. Csaba Tárkányi (Fidesz) with 544 votes.
And finally there is a fourth place where an independent won against the Fidesz candidate: Gégény (pop. 2,000). The candidates this year were all newcomers. At the last local election the mayor as well as the members of the town council were all registered as independent, but the independent mayor was fiercely attacked by kuruc.info, a far-right internet site, as a "wholly committed communist." I assume that was one reason Fidesz decided to have its own man run, but the party was somewhat careless because they put up a man who had been a member of the police force during the course of the last three years. According to a new law introduced by Fidesz that was cause to deprive a person from running for public office. Thus, when this mistake was discovered new elections had to be held.
The independent newcomer, Ildikó Zakor, won over Csaba Menyhért representing Fidesz-KDNP. And her lead was substantial. Out of the 840 votes she received 548 while Menyhért got only 292. Compare that to the members of the town council elected on the basis of the results from October 3: four people from Fidesz-KDNP and only two independent members.
The Budapest results seem especially dramatic to me. It will be interesting to see what next month's opinion polls will tell us about possible shifting party preferences.