November 15th, 2011

Fidesz candidate cruises to victory in closely-watched Budapest by-election

Fidesz candidate Zsolt Láng gained a dominant 52.6% of the vote in a parliamentary by-election in Budapest on Sunday. Socialist candidate Katalin Lévai received 24.2%, LMP candidate Gergely Karácsony received 15.6%, and Jobbik candidate Zoltán Bodor received 6.5%.

Voter participation was surprisingly high for a by-election at 38.5%, but since it did not reach 50%, there will be a second round run-off in two weeks. Had participation reached 50%, Láng would have won the seat on Sunday outright.

Láng and Karácsony are already MPs, but got into parliament on party lists. If either were to win, they would give up their “list seat” (which does not require a by-election to fill if empty), but only LMP made it clear who would replace Karácsony in the event of his victory.

The election was important for all of the parties as a means of measuring attitudes toward the government and opposition, but considering that the seat in question has always been held by a party of the right, it was perhaps not as indicative as a seat more up for grabs would be.

Although both the Socialist and LMP candidates announced before the vote that they would step down in the event that it would help block a Fidesz victory, the combined votes cast in favor of the two parties of the left were still less than that received by Láng, and Karácsony has since stated he still plans to participate in the run-off.

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