A slight change in Fidesz’s popularity?

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.

 

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John T
Guest

Eva,
I don’t think you can read anything into these results. But even if they do indicate a bit of a swing against Fidesz, they will govern for another 3.5 years. And to be honest, there will be no credible, competent alternative by then, just the same mediocre bunch of wannabe politicians, who believe they are the elite of society. They remind me of the candidates in the Apprentice – totally full of themselves, but rather useless when you see them in action.

Paul
Guest

Nice try, Éva, and I share your desire for the inevitable turn against Fidesz to start as soon as possible.
But I suspect these results are just the normal reaction of voters angry that their original decision was overturned.
Voters don’t like having to vote twice, without any real reason, and they don’t like bad losers.
I suspect this is why Fidesz is playing it a bit more carefully in Veszprém now – they fear an absolute drubbing if they force another mayoral election after 6 months.

Paul
Guest

On a point of information – I’m puzzled by this business of ‘repeating’ a vote.
It seems to be very easy to get a vote ‘repeated’. What are the rules and procedures governimg this?
In the UK, candidates can request a recount in the case of a tight finish, and sometimes this happens several times – often with worryingly different results! But an election can only be rerun if there is definite evidence of election rules being broken.
Candidates being elected by just one or two votes is not uncommon, especially in local elections, and there was even a dead heat in the recent round, with the winner being decided by the toss of a coin! (Sometimes I am so happy to be British!)

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Paul: “On a point of information – I’m puzzled by this business of ‘repeating’ a vote. It seems to be very easy to get a vote ‘repeated’. What are the rules and procedures governimg this?”
Honestly, I have no idea. However, it seems to me that this year there were more cases than four years ago. However, it is possible that nowadays I follow MTI reports more religiously than previously.
On the other hand, I was also surprised when in a very tight race the request for a recount was denied. In the United States that certainly couldn’t happen.

Paul
Guest

Unless it’s Florida and your brother happens to be Governor!

Kevin Moore
Guest

“On the other hand, I was also surprised when in a very tight race the request for a recount was denied. In the United States that certainly couldn’t happen.”
I’m sure you are referring to the parliamentary elections of 2002.

Paul
Guest

20 minutes in the Fidesz election archives…

Adele
Guest

There is definitely a change of mood in the capital, but it is too early to tell what that change is. It may be that Fidesz voters are simple overconfident. Small, local elections tend to have lower voter turnout, especially if they are special elections that are scheduled on days when most of the county is not voting. Krisztián Kránitz received 783 votes in the repeat election, a number close to the initial 732,while Gabriella Dódity’s votes decreased dramatically. This means that people did not change their votes, but that many of Dódity’s supporters simply did not show up for the elections. They might feel that with a safe 2/3 majority, there is nothing for them to worry about and therefore that it is not even worth going to the polls. The opposition, on the other hand, is extremely worried that their voices are not being heard in govenment, which is why the MSZP candidate had a high voter turnout for both rounds.

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