Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony – Photo: Facebook

Election 2024 – Karacsony initiates repeat election for Budapest mayor

Gergely Karacsony, the candidate of the Dialogue-Greens-Democratic Coalition-Socialists alliance in the recent election for Budapest mayor, has initiated that the elections in all the city's districts should be repeated.

Karacsony told a press conference on Thursday that recounting the invalid votes in Sunday’s election would involve “so many legal uncertainties that it could only be remedied by way of a new election”.

Karacsony said he would not accept the National Election Committee’s (NVB) decision even if it favoured him and would insist on a new election.

Earlier in the day, the committee ordered a recount of the invalid votes at the request of David Vitezy, the runner-up in Sunday’s election, a candidate of LMP-Greens and the With Vitezy for Budapest association.

Karacsony insisted that the recount process, ordered by the committee in a “martial law decision” would not ensure “any constitutional guarantees” and its results could not be reassuring for Budapest’s residents. He said it was clear that “Fidesz had based its strategy on misleading voters” with regard to withdrawing its candidate, Alexandra Szentkiralyi, “in the last minute”.

Karacsony also said that “the so-called evidence” did not justify a recount neither on the basis of earlier legal practice nor under effective regulations. He said the “evidence” were “uniform statements of polling officials delegated by Fidesz, saying that they suspected “that something was wrong … statements by people who had on Monday certified with their signature that the votes (to be recounted) were invalid.”

NVB’s ordering the local election offices to open the ballot boxes and send to the National Election Office (NVI) the invalid votes “raises further doubt”, Karacsony said, adding that “it is hard not to assume that there was no hidden political motivation behind that”. The situation is further aggravated by the fact that the NVB had not made it mandatory for the local committees that the ballot boxes should be opened in the presence of representatives of all the parties. “Who knows, by the time the votes reach the election office, somebody may have put an x next to Vitezy’s name … it is very easy to make a valid vote for Vitezy out of an invalid one,” he suggested.

“We cannot be sure that nothing happens during the recount process that could change the final result,” he said.

Once a new election is held both voters and election officials “will be presented with a clear legal situation,” Karacsony said, adding that “a city can only be managed on a basis of trust and that trust seems to be lost through Fidesz’s manipulative strategy and NVB’s ill-advised decisions,” he said.

Answering a question, he said he would appeal against the NVB decision in the Supreme Court, the Kuria.

Commenting on Karacsony’s presser, Vitezy said Karacsony was “seeking (new) elections until he wins the vote”. Vitezy said on Facebook that “the election took place on Sunday; we should now see clearly who has won”.

Vitezy insisted that “the elections were organised by Karacsony, managed by the city, the mayor being responsible for any systemic error or irregularity”. He said the recount of votes, that he had requested, would “remedy the mistakes in counting”, for which he said the election officers should not be blamed but misleading written instructions and “positions by the municipal election authorities arriving late or not at all at the polling stations”.

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