Budapest Mayor Quits Primary, Upends Race to Challenge Orban
(Bloomberg) -- The mayor of Hungary’s capital city upended the political opposition’s primary to pick a challenger to face Prime Minister Viktor Orban by quitting the race to set up an unexpected runoff.
Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony, until recently considered a front-runner, stepped aside on Friday and endorsed Peter Marki-Zay, a conservative city mayor in southeastern Hungary ahead of a week-long runoff that starts next week.
Marki-Zay, whose support has surged in opinion polls, will face Klara Dobrev, a European Parliament vice president, who’s seeking to become the first female prime minister. Both Dobrev and Marki-Zay have pledged to roll back Orban’s more than decade-long consolidation of power, including by voiding a constitution approved over opposition objections.
Dobrev won 35% of the vote in the first round, followed by Karacsony at 27% and Marki-Zay with 20%. The eventual winner will lead the main opposition parties, which have united for the first time in a general election against Orban. Opinion polls show them neck and neck with Orban’s Fidesz party ahead of elections likely to take place in April.
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