Hit & Run

Hungarians Elect Free Market Advocate in By-Election, Right-Wing Ruling Party Loses Supermajority

Zoltán Kész defeated a member of the ruling party, ending its razor-thin supermajority hold on parliament.



In Hungary, the right wing Fidesz Party (along with a small coalition partner) lost a by-election after one of its members moved on to a job as a European Union commissioner, and with that election lost their super-majority in parliament, which they've held since 2010.

Politic.hu describes the winner of the by-election, the founder of the Free Market Foundation in Hungary, independent Zoltán Kész:

An entrepreneur and advocate for free-market economics, Kész nonetheless ran with strong backing from the country's major left-wing parties.

Trailing the two were Andrea Varga-Damm of the radical-nationalist party Jobbik with 14.14%, Ferenc Gerstmár of the green party LMP – which had declined to get behind Kész, citing his neoliberal economic beliefs – with 4.57%, and Ferenc B?sze, an independent who received 2.75% of the votes cast…

 "The voters expect me to be a real critic of the ones in power," Kész said following news of his victory. "I promise I will deliver that. We have got the strength to change the power."

Here's the Atlas Network on Kész.

Five years of supermajority control meant the ruling party could push through various constitutional reforms without any problems for the opposition. While the prime minister, Viktor Orban, insisted the constitutional changes were meant to eradicate Communism's legacy in the country, they effectively increased the power of the state and the power of Orban's party over the state. Among the changes, the Constitutional Court, which had previously ruled unconstitutional some of the changes Orban's party was now inserting directly into the Constitution,  lost some of its review power, while election campaigning is restricted to state media.

The ruling party says it's not worried about losing the supermajority, because they've already transformed the country the way they wanted to.