October 3rd, 2010

Analysts say Fidesz well placed to match April results in local elections

Political analysts polled by MTI on Saturday said governing Fidesz is likely to win Sunday’s local elections with the party’s results to be mainly judged in comparison with the general election results in April, which they had won in a landslide.

The analysts agreed that new election laws cutting the number of representatives in local government by half and tightening rules for fielding candidates will have a major impact on the election.

Orsolya Szomszed of Nezopont said the changes will hurt parties which are less organised at a local level and civil organisations. 

Robert Laszlo of Political Capital, said a good example of this disadvantageous situation for small parties and local organisations is the fall in the number of party lists entered in the election for county assembly seats, from 8-14 four years ago to just 3-5 this year. The so-called compensation list – which distributes seats based on the leftover votes of candidates who did not win – will have a smaller impact in this year’s election, because of the new rules, Laszlo said.

Fidesz is very likely to repeat its spring victory, although the outcome in Budapest and the county seats are still important for the party to have a comfortable majority in those assemblies, Szomszed said. The Socialists on the other hand should be aiming to prevent a debacle in Budapest and try and keep party strongholds such as Szeged (S) or Miskolc (NE), she added.

Laszlo said Fidesz has been running a simple, risk-averting campaign, trying to address only its own camp, which should be enough to secure a majority in the politically influential localities and in most counties. He added that gaining the majority of seats in the Budapest assembly would be “the crown” on Fidesz’s success.

Mate Gyomore of Progressiv Institute predicted a major Fidesz victory, giving the party stronger footing on the local level. The Socialists and radical nationalist Jobbik are in competition for the silver medal, both vying for the position of “main opposition party”. The Socialists have a chance at winning some Budapest districts while Jobbik can do well in the eastern poor regions and small towns.

Szomszed said Jobbik would be looking to beat the Socialists in the eastern regions and hope to inch up support in the capital, too.

The green Politics Can Be Different (LMP) party will be most influential in the Budapest race, trying to win seats from Fidesz and the Socialists in the municipal assembly, the analysts said.

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