Three key takeaways from yesterday’s local elections

Winning an absolute majority of all votes cast, Hungary's ruling Fidesz-KDNP alliance maintained its healthy lead ahead of all other parties in Sunday's local elections. Yes, opposition parties prevailed in Budapest, which will now have a new mayor, but there’s a lot more to the story than the capital. Here are the three, key takeaways.

1. Fidesz-KDNP remains the strongest political force, and it has gained strength in rural Hungary.

Support for Prime Minister Orbán's ruling Fidesz-KDNP has, in fact, increased in rural Hungary. Fidesz-KDNP representatives prevailed in 13 out of Hungary’s 23 major cities with county rights, while the ruling alliance won in all 19 county councils. What’s more, Fidesz-KDNP representatives will outnumber opposition representatives by more than 10 percent in 17 out of the country’s 19 counties.

Winning more than 50 percent of all votes, Prime Minister Orbán’s Fidesz-KDNP has once again shown that it’s still by far Hungary’s strongest political force. Recent research by the Nézőpont Intézet showed that if parliamentary elections were held now, Fidesz-KDNP would again come in first by a large margin.

2. Overall, more people voted for Fidesz-KDNP in these elections than in the May EP elections, while the opposition’s popularity dropped.

If we look closely at the results, we’ll find that Fidesz-KDNP received 1,800,849 votes on Sunday compared to a bit over 1.7 million in the May European Parliamentary elections. This means, that support for the governing alliance has actually increased, while opposition parties together garnered almost 300 thousand votes less than the 1,633,762 they received five months ago.

3. By turning out in relatively high numbers, Hungarians have once again celebrated their hard-fought democratic freedom.

With a 48.45 percent turnout, up from 44.30 in 2015, Hungarian voters on Sunday celebrated their democracy and their right to choose at the ballot box.

As Prime Minister Orbán said last night, “this was a difficult election campaign. This was a big and open political battle – one that takes place in a democracy built on competing parties.” And what these elections have proven undeniably, Orbán said, is that the Fidesz-KDNP alliance remains the strongest political force in Hungary.

Photo credit: Origo