Hungary’s opposition has elected a joint candidate for the spring parliamentary election: Peter Marki-Zay. He is a political outsider and conservative – and could endanger Prime Minister Orban because of that.

The conservative and non-party outsider Peter Marki-Zay is expected to challenge the right-wing national prime minister Viktor Orban as an opposition candidate in the Hungarian parliamentary elections in spring 2022. In a pre-election organized by the opposition, the 49-year-old was clearly ahead according to partial counting results from Sunday evening.

This is the first time such a code has taken place in Hungary. Six previously divided opposition parties – from left-green to right-wing conservative – are supposed to support the winner in the election campaign against Orban. After counting more than half of the votes, Marki-Zay got 59.1 percent of the vote and his opponent Klara Dobrev from the social democratic party DK to 40.9 percent, as the pre-election commission announced. Dobrev already congratulated and promised to support him with full force in the parliamentary election campaign.

United opposition to Orban

For the first time since 2010, 58-year-old Orban is confronted with a united opposition at the ballot box. According to surveys, both camps are in fact on a par. Marki-Zay has announced that, in the event of a victory, he will reverse controversial Orban’s laws and introduce the euro in Hungary. Experts consider Marki-Zay to be a difficult opponent for Orban, as the devout father of seven could also address conservative voters in the vote next year.

Marki-Zay studied economics, electrical engineering and history. From 2004 to 2009 he lived with his family in Canada and the USA. He only got into politics in 2018. At that time he won – also surprisingly – the mayoral election in Hodmezövasarhely. Until then, the place had been considered an impregnable stronghold of the Orban party Fidesz.

Participation in the second round of the primary election reached a record high: 662,016 voters voted within six days until Saturday evening. 633,811 citizens took part in the first round at the end of September. This value already exceeded the expectations of the organizers. There were five top candidates to choose from at the time. In the first round, citizens also voted in 94 out of 106 constituencies on the respective common direct candidates for parliament.