BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Hungarian opposition challenger Gergely Karacsony looked on track to defeat ruling party incumbent Istvan Tarlos in the Budapest mayoral election on Sunday, preliminary results showed.
With 74.4% of votes counted, Karacsony had 50.1% support compared with 44.8% for Tarlos according to data on the National Election Office website, putting the Hungarian opposition on track for its biggest political win in a decade.
Opposition parties were also projected to win a majority in the Budapest General Assembly with 17 members, compared with 14 delegates from Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s ruling Fidesz-Christian Democrat alliance and two independents.
Budapest is home to about a fifth of Hungary’s population of 10 million, but it is responsible for more than a third of its economic output and plays an outsized role in all walks of national life.
Sunday’s nationwide local elections were seen as a key test of an opposition strategy of rallying behind a single candidate against Fidesz, which has scored seven consecutive landslide election wins since 2010 on the national, municipal and European levels.
Opposition parties have united behind joint candidates in some other big cities as well.
(Reporting by Gergely Szakacs and Marton Dunai; Editing by Daniel Wallis)