Turn out high as Hungarians vote to select Orban’s challenger

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Turnout in the primary to decide who will lead Hungary’s opposition alliance into the spring parliamentary elections next year was higher than ever before, it was announced on Sunday.

According to the pre-election commission, 662,016 people voted, it said on Facebook.

Six Hungarian opposition parties from across the political spectrum have come together to campaign as one opposition alliance in the 2022 election in the hopes of collectively gaining enough votes to deny Prime Minister Viktor Orban a third successive term in office.

After five candidates took part in the first round of voting last month, the second round ended up being a run off between social democrat Klara Dobrev of the Democratic Coalition party and the conservative independent Peter Marki-Zay.

Marki-Zay made it onto the second round ballot following Budapest mayor Gergely Karacsony’s withdrawal from the race, in which he took second place in the first round of voting.

The Democratic Coalition is considered the most powerfully organized opposition party in Hungary and is lead by Dobrev’s husband Ferenc Gyurcsany, who was himself prime minister from 2004 to 2009.

The results of the second round are expected late on Sunday evening, with the winner facing a formidable challenge in Orban, who has been in power for almost 12 years.

Critics, including various EU bodies, accuse Orban of dismantling democracy in Hungary during that time, as well as overseeing pervasive corruption and disregarding the rule of law.

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