With results slowly dripping until the morning, Index is finishing its English live coverage.
We will be back with a detailed analysis tomorrow, until then, we will leave you with Gergely Karácsony's first moments as Lord Mayor of Budapest:
Gergely Karácsony gave his victory-speech at 11:00 PM at a club in Budapest.
Today, on 13th October a historic victory was won in Budapest. This victory is not the victory of the co-operating opposition, but the victory of the people of Budapest, a victory for which they fought so they could take their city back from those in power.
- said the newly elected Lord Mayor at the start of his speech. The crowd cheered him on after every sentence.
He said that this victory means that
Budapest will be green and free!
- he exclaimed, and he also vowed to take Budapest back to Europe.
He thanked his opponents at the opposition's primary elections, who "behaved like true democrats." He thanked the opposition parties who cooperated, and his family, for putting up with "all the unbelievable abuse he has to endure as a politician."
He said he will also work for those, who did not vote for him, and he wants to make his program a reality. He thanked István Tarlós his work as a Lord Mayor, then left the stage amidst a standing ovation.
There is a reason why Viktor Orbán said at Fidesz's election night rally:
"We can count on the Hungarian countryside and the Hungarian countryside can count on us."
Fidesz has retained its majority in all 19 county assemblies (elected by towns outside of Budapest without county rights).
The Budapest elections brought a number of changes in district leadership. As it currently stands, Fidesz seems to be losing the following districts:
The I., II., II., IV., VI., VII., VIII., IX., XI., and XVIII. districts.
The fate of Fidesz's incumbent mayor in the I. district is still undecided, the opposition's Márta V. Naszályi is currently in the lead by 110 votes.
As it currently stands, the opposition had won in 13 out of 23 districts in Budapest, meaning newly elected Gergely Karácsony will secure a majority in the Budapest General Assembly.
The opposition took over seven cities with county rights while retaining the three that already had opposition mayors (Salgótarján and Szeged since 2014, and Hódmezővásárhely where Péter Márki-Zay won at a by-election in 2018).
The opposition beat the incumbent mayor in the following cities:
So as it stands, the opposition has mayors in 10 cities with country rights while Fidesz retained 13: Sopron, Győr, Veszprém, Nagykanizsa, Zalaegerszeg, Kaposvár, Szekszárd, Kecskemét, Szolnok, Debrecen, Nyíregyháza, Székesfehérvár, and Békéscsaba where the mayor has the outside support of Fidesz.
Some results are still not final, but here are the results from districts XIII-XXIII:
After the opening remark above, Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán continued at Fidesz's central election night rally in events centre Bálna in Budapest:
"The election was not only about Budapest, so please, allow me to thank each an every citizen who had cast their ballots at this election. I congratulate all the winners."
Orbán added that this was a difficult campaign, a great and open political battle, "as it needs to be in a democracy," and that Fidesz still managed to gain over 50% of the overall votes.
The Prime Minister thanked István Tarlós for his nine years leading Budapest, saying "We will never forget that you were the one to drag this town out of bankruptcy." He added:
"For nine years, it was a tradition that the Lord Mayor of Budapest hails from the governing party. Budapest now decided otherwise, but we will acknowledge this decision and we are ready to cooperate."
Orbán then listed Fidesz's successes:
therefore as Orbán assessed, Fidesz is still the strongest party n the country, and added:
"We can count on the Hungarian countryside, and the Hungarian countryside can count on us."
Concluding his speech, the Prime Minister noted that within Fidesz, this is the time to evaluate and analyse the results, and shape Fidesz's policies based on the findings. He thanked Fidesz's activists and reiterated that Fidesz is the strongest party of Hungary.
Viktor Orbán exited the stage accompanied by a thunderous applause.
When István Tarlós approached the microphone at Fidesz's post-election rally, he was greeted with a huge ovation. He thanked those who voted for him and Budapest for the 13 years, "because that was very nice," he thanked Óbuda for the years he spent leading the district "because together it was probably even nicer."
"I need a minute, everybody calm down. The nationwide results are quite nice. Today, Budapest decided this way, they chose Gergely Karácsony. I congratulated him, and wished him good luck" − he said.
These 29-30 years were nice, he said, adding that things like this happen when you're 70. And it will happen again. "Good luck!" − as Tarlós ended his short speech.
With 97.72% of the votes counted, Zsolt Borkai, Fidesz's mayor in Győr seems to be unscathed by the sex-tape scandal that thematised the last week of the election campaign, and which seems to be suffered by Fidesz nationwide.
As it currently stands,
Borkai is winning with 44.43% of the votes, while runner-up opposition candidate Tímea Glázer only managing to get 42.82%.
Local Fidesz's press officer confirmed to Index that Borkai is not planning to hold a press conference, while the disappointed crowd is slowly dispersing at opposition candidate Tímea Glázer's election night rally - Glázer said that Borkai's victory is attributable to the local branch of Jobbik that pulled out of the elections at the height of the Borkai scandal. She also added that she does not see a long career ahead of Borka.
Almost half of its citizens (49.19%) turned out to vote, and here is what we know so far:
The press officer of opposition Lord Mayoral candidate Gergely Karácsony has confirmed to Index:
István Tarlós had congratulated Gergely Karácsony on his victory.
István Tarlós told azonnali.hu over the phone that he is not disappointed.
He told the site that even though different results were predicted before the elections, at the age of 71 he is in no position to be disappointed over losing his position. Earlier, he told the site that he is the candidate who has the "least to lose."
The current standing in Budapest:
Karácsony: 50.02%, Tarlós: 44.93%
(votes counted: 62.14%)
We conducted a short interview with government spokesperson István Hollik. The politician told Index that this election was not about the policies of the government but instead about whether or not people choose candidates fit to lead their local communities. The spokesperson phrased his view on the Budapest standing carefully, saying: "Let's wait until the end," but he stated that the government will respect the decision of the people of Budapest and added that the government will attempt to cooperate with the Lord Mayor even it will be Gergely Karácsony.
Gergely Karácsony is leading by 13.000 votes ahead of incumbent István Tarlós. The latest results are:
Ákos Szabados had been the mayor of Budapest's XX. district for the past 14 years, although until now, he was a member of MSZP - now he was running as an independent candidate with Fidesz's outside support.
He has a confident lead of 52% against opposition candidate Róbert Balogh (47%) with 49% of the votes processed.
With almost 24% of the votes processed nationwide, here are some more preliminary results:
The sex tape and corruption scandal-torn incumbent mayor of Győr, Fidesz's Zsolt Borkai's seat has shaken, but he is still in the lead against opposition candidate Tímea Glázer with his 45.16% against Glázer's 42.65% - this is still a significant drop from the 61% Borkai achieved in 2014, but he is still winning.
With 23.91% of the votes counted, the opposition's lord mayoral candidate Gergely Karácsony has 49.47% of the votes (40 265 of them to be exact) while Fidesz's incumbent István Tarlós has 45.39% (36 942 votes).
(National Election Office)
Though with very few votes processed so far, but the first preliminary results are starting to roll in:
In the Budapest lord mayoral race, Gergely Karácsony (opposition) appears to be at 48.52%, leading in front of incumbent István Tarlós (Fidesz) who currently has 46.05% at 3.81% of the votes processed.
Before the 19:00 closing of the stations, voter turnout in Hódmezővásárhely was at 65.59%, said Andrea Kis MSZP vice-mayor at Péter Márky-Zay's final campaign event, where they are awaiting the results. Data from the districts are trickling in as well, and from these Kis drew the conclusion that István Grezsa is barely in the lead in the outer districts of Hódmezővásárhely, while Marky-Zay is ahead of him nearer to the city centre. We wrote about the changes in voter turnout here.
FM Péter Szijjártó doubled the excitement for tonight, as he was watching the Hungarian national football team's European Championship qualifier against Azerbaijan (Hungary won 1-0) in the company of Sándor Csányi, Hungary's second-richest man and the head of OTP Bank.
A member of governing party Fidesz told Index's correspondent at Fidesz's post-election event that both pollsters with close ties to the government, Századvég and Nézőpont predict a victory for incumbent Lord Mayor of Budapest István Tarlós.
Századvég estimated Tarlós to gain more than 50% of the votes, Nézőpont predicts a closer race, but still a "comfortable victory." It's important to note that this information is still unconfirmed.
Bence Tordai, the spokesperson of Párbeszéd (party of opposition Lord Mayoral candidate Gergely Karácsony) told Index that he does not want to make any predictions, but he feels more excited than ever before, because:
Finally, the question is not if we can suffer an honourable defeat, but if we can actually win.
This is an entirely new scenario, the Hungarian opposition is doing better than ever in the past 13 years. But now, with Karácsony's leadership, and with the cooperation between opposition parties, this is the reality. Change always starts with Budapest, but Tordai thinks the number of opposition-led cities will grow nation-wide. He did not want to make predictions with regards to Győr either, but he said the people of Győr must defend their honour, regardless of their party politics. Talking about Karácsony, he mentioned he was nervous for him at the beginning of the campaign, because there was an enormous responsibility on him, but he is having a great run, he is up to the task and the difficult campaign strengthened him.
Fidesz's campaign chief Lajos Kósa held a press conference in the Bálna events centre, and responded to Index's question concerning the communication chaos of the party in the last two days of the campaign:
"Nothing special happened. There are often extraordinary events near the end of a campaign, and the opinion of the voters will be apparent in around two hours. Sometimes mistakes, like people announcing press conferences that they have no intention of holding, happen."
Earlier, Kósa said that this election is of the utmost importance as the people of Hungary are choosing the leaders of their communities, and noted that candidates of Fidesz-KDNP are the "most fit" candidates, who want to "create alliances with all voters." Kósa also thanked the contributions of Fidesz's thousands of activists. The campaign chief also noted that the election was legitimate, and that
"Today's election was a celebration of democracy."
The first ballots to be completely counted by the polling station commissions will be those of the mayoral and lord-mayoral elections, as stipulated by the manual handed to all commissioners - in the towns, the mayoral election ballots come first, while in Budapest, the lord mayoral ballots are on the top of the priority list, then the ballots for local, then country representatives.
Polling stations had closed at 7:00 PM, and the first results to roll in will probably come from the smaller townships in the countryside. Complete results are expected to come out sometime during Monday morning.
Until 6:30 PM, 3 787 857 people had turned up in polling stations to cast their ballots, that is
47.2% of all eligible voters.
Budapest is above the national average with 49.19%, the most active county was Vas in the west of the country with 53.82% of those eligible having voted.
Unlike at the end of previous campaigns, only guests of Fidesz's post-election event will be allowed to be present at PM Viktor Orbán's final speech in the Bálna events centre. There were similar restrictions in place at Fidesz's event after the 2018 general elections, because everybody expected the loss of Fidesz's two-thirds majority. Once it became clear that this will not be the case, Orbán gave his speech outside for a bigger crowd.
There are approximately 30 minutes remaining until Lajos Kósa's press conference, but as of now, all is kept tightly under wraps. Even though the mood inside seems to be relaxed rather than tense, it is apparent that no Fidesz member will come out to give interviews, and there are no press officers mingling with journalists to leak some info or arrange interviews.
Index's sources are saying that a rumour is going in Fidesz saying that the party's internal poll conducted today prognosticated the victory of Fidesz's incumbent Lord Mayor István Tarlós in Budapest, though with a high margin of error. "Anything could happen still," a party member told our colleague on location at Fidesz's post-election event in the Bálna events centre on the bank of the Danube next to Liberty Bridge.
Voter turnout is high, but no record was broken today - it could be around 50% in Budapest.
Turnout at the 2019 municipal elections in Hungary is way higher than it was five years ago: at 1:00 PM, it was 26.6% and 34.69 at 3:00 PM. The last time so many eligible voters have turned up at the polls was in 2006. The higher figure is mostly attributable to an increase in the activity of voters in Budapest and in larger cities. But who benefits, Fidesz or the opposition, incumbent Lord Mayor István Tarlós, or opposition challenger Gergely Karácsony? The effects of the Borkai-tapes have made it even more difficult to guess which side was riled up by the events of the past few days.
Read our brief analysis here:
More people have voted in Budapest until 5:00 PM today than they did during the whole day in 2014. 602 899 people, 44.07% of eligible voters have already cast their ballots in Budapest. In 2014, the total number of votes cast at the end of the day was 832 468 - back then, incumbent Lord Mayor István Tarlós won by gaining 49.06% of the vote, while runner-up Lajos Bokros had only 36.04%.
Though the Budapest figure is higher than the national average, the 5:00 PM nationwide turnout is not much behind either:
Until 5:00 PM, 3 426 129 people, 42.69% of eligible voters had cast their votes.