The man who will take on Orban: The unknown father of seven elected to challenge Hungary’s populist leader

Peter Márki-Zay’s victory is a shock to Orbán, who will find it much harder to brand him as a liberal who will demolish ‘traditional Hungarian values’, reports Amanda Coakley

Tuesday 19 October 2021 10:24
<p>Conservative independent candidate Peter Marki-Zay</p>

Conservative independent candidate Peter Marki-Zay

To “Fidesz or not Fidesz”, that was the question Péter Márki-Zay, the conservative mayor of a small southern Hungarian town, put to supporters.

The unknown politician asked while giving his victory speech on Sunday after it emerged he will be the sole challenger to prime minister Viktor Orbán in next spring’s parliamentary election following two rounds of opposition primaries, a first for the central European nation.

With no party affiliation, the 49-year-old father of seven defeated the left-liberal Democratic Coalition candidate Klára Dobrev MEP, a vice-president in the European Parliament and wife of former prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsány, signalling voters’ desire for a fresh face and a candidate that does not represent an old elite.

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