Candidates of the opposition alliance fared particularly well in the capital as well as in larger cities, many of which used to be strongholds of the governing party. After the previous municipal election in 2014, Fidesz had a mayor in 20 of the 23 major cities. Incumbent opposition candidates managed to hang on to their municipalities and took seven other towns from the Fidesz column.

The governing party suffered the biggest setback in Budapest, where its candidate incumbent István Tarlós was easily defeated by Gergely Karácsony who will enjoy a majority in the city council as well. In addition, Fidesz lost 10 districts compared to the previous election.

#

The countryside reveals a completely different picture with Fidesz winning a majority in all county councils and hanging on to most of its mayoral seats in smaller settlements.


Everybody’s a winner

A historic victory has taken place in Budapest, Gergely Karácsony said. "This victory is about a green and free Budapest," the joint opposition candidate said. "This victory was about how the power of the people is stronger than people in power, love and cooperation always overcomes hatred, and reality in the end trumps lies." Karácsony said October 14 would mark the start of a new era for Hungary in its quest to regain its freedom. He said the victory was not his or the opposition parties' but that of Budapesters who were fighting to win back the capital.

"Starting tomorrow Budapest will be a home to us all and I will also represent those who didn't vote for me," he said, thanking the politicians, activists and voters who supported him. He noted that outgoing mayor István Tarlós had phoned to congratulate him, and Karácsony said he had thanked Tarlós for his work in office to date. Karácsony pledged to put relations between the capital and the Hungarian government on a new footing. He said he would not be preparing for war but for even-handed cooperation with the government.

# Karácsony will enjoy a majority in the city council as well

# Orbán thanked Tarlós (right) for his work over the past nine years

He called the local election campaign the "most stomach-churning campaign of the past few decades", although he would "remember its uplifting moments". Karácsony said that during the campaign his team had involved Budapest residents in its decisions, while the opposition parties had understood that they would only be successful if they looked to each other and people who wanted change as allies. "The campaign is over and now it's time to get to work," he said, adding that his job would be to bring peace to "the upset capital" and the "country filled with tension and hatred".

Orbán said the results of the municipal elections show that the ruling Fidesz alliance with the Christian Democrats is still Hungary's strongest force. He said the election campaign had been "a tough, big and open political battle", as should be the case in a democracy based on a competition between parties. For the past nine years the force representing the governing majority had taken the helm of Budapest. "But today residents of the capital have decided that something else comes next," he added.

"We'll take this into consideration and, in the interests of the country and the people who live in Budapest, are ready to work together," Orbán said. He thanked voters in rural Hungary for putting their trust in the ruling party. "They can count on us in the future, too." Orbán said that true to form, the local election result suggested Fidesz's showing of over 50 percent was "by now becoming a standard" that could still be achieved.

Orbán thanked Tarlós for his work over the past nine years: "We won't forget that it was he who dragged the city out of bankruptcy." Referring to cities with county rights, he said 13 out of 23 were still in the Fidesz-KDNP column and Fidesz won all 19 counties. The prime minister said the Fidesz-KDNP alliance was still Hungary's strongest political force. "We'll act accordingly," he added. "For us, Hungary will continue to come first." The alliance would assess and analyse the results, and shape Fidesz-KDNP policy accordingly.


Tarlós congratulates Karácsony

István Tarlós congratulated Gergely Karácsony on his election victory and wished him the best of luck in his new post. Tarlós thanked the "entire community" of Budapesters who had voted for him, as well as the capital and its third district for the years he had served as their mayor. "At a national level the result is nice but we need to pause to think about Budapest. There's nothing to say; this is how Budapest voted today. Thank you for the opportunity to be among you." He said he would not forget the nearly 30 years he had spent as part of Budapest's leadership. "At 70 years of age, these things happen but it'll get better," Tarlós concluded.


Sneider: Jobbik back on track

Tamás Sneider, leader of Hungary's opposition nationalist Jobbik, has hailed his party's performance in the local elections as its best ever showing in a local ballot, saying that after a difficult period Jobbik is "back on track". By winning as many local council seats as it has, Jobbik has demonstrated its resilience, Sneider said. The local election had proved that the government's "arrogance" could be combatted and it was worth voting against ruling Fidesz.

Sneider congratulated Karácsony and expressed hope that Budapest would become a "greener and politically more peaceful" city in the future.


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