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Jobbik’s ‘capital’ re-elects extreme-right mayor

Jobbik saw its candidate Erik Fülöp returned on Sunday to the office of mayor in Tiszavasvári, which the extreme right-wing party calls its “capital city”. The by-election was necessary after the council of the eastern town voted to dissolve itself in August. The defection of two Jobbik councillors had left no voting bloc with an outright majority.

Booze, free rides alleged

On Monday, however, the local electoral commission cancelled the results in two of eight constituencies after both Jobbik and the MSZP complained of voting irregularities. Jobbik had announced in advance that its activists would be patrolling the town on polling day.

The nationalist party alleged that supporters of runner-up Zsolt Radúly drove Roma voters to the polling station – illegal under Hungary’s electoral law. The MSZP claimed to have seen alcoholic drinks being handed out early in the morning. The electoral committee cancelled the two ballots on the basis of video footage submitted, an election official said.

Jobbik won handily

Jobbik’s Fülöp won 2,411 votes, almost 700 more than Ráduly, who was nominally independent but backed by the nationally ruling Fidesz party. If the result was bad for Fidesz, which it appears was wise not to run an official candidate, it was terrible for the MSZP. The Socialists had trumpeted their success in two recent village council elections as a signal that the political wind was blowing from right to left, but here they only managed 499 votes.

In the 2002 election, the year before Jobbik appeared, Socialist candidate József Sulyok won 66 per cent of the vote in Tiszavasvári, three times that of the runner-up Fidesz candidate. The 2010 local and national elections saw the Socialists beaten into third place by Jobbik in several parts of eastern Hungary. If the MSZP was looking for a sign that they might be about to win back voters from the Roma-scapegoating nationalist party, they did not find it in Tiszavasvári this week.

Reading the entrails

Fidesz deputy chairman Lajos Kósa declared on Monday that there was no nationwide trend towards the left wing. Two other by-elections on Sunday saw Fidesz candidates win vacant local council seats in the southern Danubian town of Baja and in Dabas, a town south of the capital. “What we definitely cannot read into the weekend’s elections… is that the MSZP is moving on an upward trajectory,” Kósa said.

Jobbik leader Gábor Vona spoke of a “massive result” for his party, whose candidate increased his share of the vote compared to 2010. Vona said this was proof that Jobbik can win not just as an unknown, but also get re-elected. Turnout in Tiszavasvári, population about 13,500, was just under half.

Credit: Budapest Times

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