Voting continued among Hungarian opposition forces on October 11 in the second round of a primary aimed at uniting behind a single challenger to national populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his Fidesz party in next year's parliamentary elections.
The diverse, six-party opposition alliance set up last year to unite behind any eventual candidate accuses Orban of overseeing rampant corruption and emergent authoritarianism since retaking the prime minister's seat in 2010.
The field of potential voting leaders for the opposition has narrowed to two front-runners, center-left lawyer and vice president of the European Parliament, Klara Dobrev, and Peter Marki-Zay, the conservative mayor of Hodmezovasarhely.
The first round of the primary ran into technical glitches that the opposition tried to blame on official meddling, while ruling party officials said it highlighted opposition incompetence.
The Democratic Coalition's Dobrev won the first round of the primary with nearly 35 percent, and Marki-Zay was third.
Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony last week announced he was dropping out of contention for the nomination and throwing his support behind Marki-Zay.
An agreement on a unified opposition primary was reached in November 2020 among disparate parties including the social-liberal Democratic Coalition, the nationalist-rooted Jobbik, the liberal LMP-Hungary's Green Party, the centrist Momentum Movement, the Hungarian Socialist Party, and the green-leaning Dialogue for Hungary.
A serious challenge has arisen to Orban and his nationalist Fidesz allies that could chip away at their current supermajority in the legislature in the April voting.
The Bulgarian-born Dobrev, who is married to former Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany, has pledged to replace the 2012 constitution passed by a dominant Fidesz party.
Hungarian Opposition Primary Under Way Again To Pick Orban Challenger