In Hungary it is legal for any citizen to provide a signature and recommend as many candidates as they like for an election. But not all opposition leaders are getting along well; in Zugló, Mayor Csaba Horváth has allegedly reported Ákos Hadházy after the latter accused the Mayor of corruption.
Budapest Mayor and leader of leftist green party Párbeszéd Gergely Karácsony signed the recommendation letter of independent Péter Márki-Zay, showing his support for the rival opposition candidate. When liberal news outlet Telex reached out to Karácsony’s office for comment, they explained that Karácsony sees Hungary’s opposition primaries as “the first step to defeating Fidesz.”
Karácsony himself wrote to the news outlet, saying that he respects his rival, and believes such support is necessary for the primaries to fulfill their basic function:
Meanwhile, Bence Tordai, the Párbeszéd candidate for Buda, reported that András Fekete Győr, leader of the centrist Momentum party, had endorsed Karácsony as well.
20 thousand signatures are required for a candidate to be fully endorsed for the primaries of a Hungarian election. The drive for signatures began on Monday and will continue until the first week of September. Candidate Gergely Karácsony received the necessary number of signatures within the first day.
The rules for the primaries are evidently quite lenient. Lawyer György Magyar, the head of the Civil Election Commission (CVB), explained to Telex that any Hungarian citizen can support any recognized candidate, who has been registered under the National Primaries Commission (OEVB).
Magyar said that if people endorse as many candidates as possible, Hungary’s opposition primaries can fill in their democratic function of opposition parties having their voices heard.
But relations between rival opposition leaders are not all filled with comradery. In Zugló, socialist mayor Csaba Horváth has reported independent candidate Ákos Hadházy after Hadházy accused the mayor of corruption regarding the district’s suspicious purchase of two properties. Hadházy, who is known for exposing corruption, also said the owner of the private company which purchased the properties is the former colleague of pro-Fidesz businessman István Tiborcz, who is the son-in-law of PM Orbán.
Following the accusations, Horváth demanded that his opponent in the XIV District riding apologize, then shared an official report announcing that legal action had been taken for defamation and libel against Hadházy. The Zugló mayor accused his rival of damaging the municipality’s credibility with lies and damaging the unity of opposition parties.
Among others, the centrist liberal Momentum Party and the satirical Two Tailed Dog Party have voiced their support for Hadházy.
Hadházy’s team told liberal news portal 24.hu that Horváth is either lying or “hiring endlessly dumb people as lawyers,” since criminal proceedings can only be made against a member of the National Assembly with the permission of the National Assembly.