Hungary’s main left-wing opposition parties have agreed on an unusual candidate to run in a key by-election which could mark the end of the governing Fidesz-KDNP coalition’s two-thirds parliamentary majority, though the green LMP party declined to offer its support.
Last week the Socialist Party (MSZP) announced that they will join the other left-wing parties (the Democratic Coalition, Hungarian Liberal Party, PM – Dialogue for Hungary) in lining up behind the candidacy of Zoltán Kész, an entrepreneur and advocate for free-market economics who was the main speaker in the local demonstration on the “Day of Public Outcry” in November.
Last year Kész was named “Liberty Entrepreneur of the Year” by the Atlas Network, a Washington-based NGO that aims to promote free-market economic policies across the world.
In addition to his business activities and advocacy, Kész has served as the acting director of the local “American Corner,” one of the State Department-funded regional resource center that according to the US Embassy in Budapest offer “information and programs highlighting American culture, history, current events, and government.”
The election, which will take place on February 22, is for the seat formerly held by Tibor Navracsics, who, after briefly serving as foreign minister, is now the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport.
On Tuesday, LMP co-chair András Schiffer said that the ideal candidate for the opposition would be acceptable for each party and would also be capable of rallying former Fidesz supporters to his or her cause. According to Schiffer, Kész does not fit the description because of his free-market advocacy, which clashes with LMP’s critical approach towards globalization.
Meanwhile, the radical nationalist Jobbik party is expected to field their own candidate.