From leftists and socialists to the former far right, Hungarians have united behind a single candidate they hope will loosen Orban’s grip on power in April parliamentary elections.
An observant Catholic father of seven, Marki-Zay, 47, presented himself as the stronger of two finalists to run against Orban because he would be challenging him from the right rather than the left.
His opponent, Klara Dobrev, from the left-wing Democratic Coalition congratulated him on his win. Dobrev, 49, vice president of the European parliament, faced the challenge of her marriage to former prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsany, who was the target of large-scale street protests in 2006 and one of the most controversial figures in Hungarian politics.
The results on Sunday were the culmination of weeks of voting and campaigning in an effort to bring together six parties with wide-ranging ideologies, from leftists and socialists to the former far right, behind a single candidate they hoped would loosen Orban’s grip on power in the April election. More than 650,000 people voted in hundreds of polling stations set up around the country in a partly crowdfunded effort to find a joint candidate.
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