Election season is here and it’s about much more than the composition of local councils

In less than three weeks, on October 13th, Hungarians will go to the polls to elect local representatives and mayors for a five-year term. While votes are cast locally, the results will shape the future of Hungary and the future of Europe.

Although the importance of local elections is often understated in comparison to those on a parliamentary level, they certainly have an impact on daily life and the direction of the country.

On October 13th, according to the electoral code currently in force, Hungarians will elect local representatives and mayors for a five-year term in a single-round, first-past-the-post election system. An electorate of 7.9 million will elect candidates to a total of 16,787 municipal seats and 414 county-level mandates.

Meanwhile, 3,177 mayors throughout the country and the mayor of Budapest will be elected as well. In Budapest, incumbent István Tarlós, who has been leading the capital since 2010, is challenged by opposition candidate Gergely Karácsony (currently mayor of Budapest’s District 14), controversial publicist Róbert Puzsér, and football player turned reality star Krisztián Berki. According to the latest polls, Tarlós maintains a sizeable lead over Karácsony, with 62 percent of local respondents saying that Tarlós would be capable of securing the most financial resources for the capital city’s future.

These elections may be called “local,” but we shouldn’t forget that what happens at the local level has an impact on national well-being and consequences for Hungary on the European stage. The outcome of the October 13th elections will in fact have an impact locally, nationally, and beyond. Therefore, the question still stands: Following the elections, will we be more suited or less suited to promote a Europe of strong nations and tackle pro-migration forces that aim to destroy Europe as we know it?

In less than three weeks, the people of Hungary will decide on the direction of their local communities and another critical dimension shaping the future of the country.