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Hungary opposition goes to polls in hope to oust Orban

Over 250 candidates are standing in the primaries

18 September, 13:02
(ANSA-AFP) - BUDAPEST, SEP 18 - Hungary's newly united opposition politicians started going to the polls Saturday in the country's first-ever primary elections that they hope are the key to ousting right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban. After years of bickering and a string of landslide losses, the once-factious opposition has come together with one common goal -- to push the long-serving leader from power in elections next year. Their six-party alliance, set up last year, is made up of a diverse cast of political parties: leftist, liberal and formerly far-right. They accuse 58-year-old Orban -- who regularly clashes with Brussels over migration and rule-of-law issues -- of endemic corruption and creeping authoritarianism since he came to power in 2010. Now they hope the new primary system will be their path to defeating his Fidesz party, Hungary's largest. "The opposition can only compete with Fidesz if they are in a single bloc too, we've learned that the hard way," Antal Csardi, a candidate for the green LMP party, told AFP. The winner-takes-all system brought in under Orban in 2012 handed Fidesz powerful parliamentary "supermajorities" in 2014 and 2018, despite winning less than half of the vote. By contrast, the primaries will let opposition voters select single candidates to take on both Orban himself as well as Fidesz rivals in each of Hungary's 106 electoral districts.

Over 250 candidates are standing in the primaries nationwide that run from September 18 to 26, with voting taking place online and in-person. If required, a run-off for the prime ministerial candidacy will be held between October 4-10.


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