first round election diary

Sunday 9 April.

Home, at the Collegium Guesthouse, the internet is not working. A great start for the election day… I hope it will be fixed by the evening. The election results start coming in around 7pm and the intention was to follow both the state channel on TV and the commercial online, to get the opposition and the government views, respectively.

At 15.45

I'm checking the tele-text, and besides that a few old people have gotten ill or even died while voting, it appears that by 1pm 49 percent of the eligible voters had gone and voted, whereas four years ago on the first round it had been 52 percent. Hungarians seem to be morning people, I remember having been surprised about these data from already last time.

The Budapestians are the most active. No surprise, though, the whole campaign period had been so focused on the 'Budapest decides' – especially the theme of the liberal campaign, that even the Fidesz, who used to run anti-Budapest policies had been advocating developing Budapest further. Fidesz would establish a ministry for the development of the capital city, obviously to oppose and downplay the socialist-liberal municipal government, but also to downplay for example the decentralisation suggested by the nomination of the southern city of Pécs as European Capital of Culture in 2010.

At 19.30
I just got home, and saw the first polls. It looks roughly like MSZP is getting 44 percent against 42 of Fidesz winning, the SZDSZ would be in the parliament but the MDF would fall out.
The network is working, but – now Umut, my colleague arrives and we start watching the whole event on TV.

At midnight.
While the official results come tomorrow night, and almost confirmed ones at noon, after the first round the Socialists have a tight lead over Fidesz, the SZDSZ and MDF both made it to the parliament, the SZDSZ with even 6.30%. The party list decides who gets into the parliament, and a number of the seats will be distributed on this.
The PM claims a victory in a sweet, human speech; the PM Orbán says that they can win enough seats of the 180 that still remain uncontested as it's the same amount they gained two years ago – however then there were more seats that were to be contested. This shows that the government parties have a strong position. Perhaps the happiest person of all was Ibólya Dávid, the MDF figurehead, who declared a victory, and also claimed that she should become the PM (instead of Orbán). She'll keep negotiating this with Orbán, whereas the MSZP will also do their share in trying to form alliances with the MDF to settle the remaining seats. The MSZP and the left as a whole would have been in a good position to win the whole elections had fell short out of the 5 percent threshold. However, the PM listed the victory of the MSZP, the SZDSZ over the MDF, and the existence of a four-party parliament as the main thing. The cleverest thing was to emphasise the victory of the Third Hungarian Republic – the postcommunist era, making the point about his party to be truly postcommunist and thus worthy of the era that started with the MDF in government in 1990.
My personal opinion is that 1) it's fantastic that there'll be four parties in the government; 2) Ibólya Dávid – whose first words in the last comment of the pre-election TV debate were Angela Merkel – would really need a style consult before she should become a PM; 3) it's fantastic that the Hungarians realised at least for a moment (we never know what will happen at the next round of elections) that one does not always need to do a revolution.
Results on when 97.53 percent of the votes are counted:
the party list             MPs from list      MPs from districts   total so far
MSZP 43.27 %           110                     34                           144
Fidesz 42.13 %              98                     29                           127
SZDSZ 6.35 %              4                        5 with MSZP           9
MDF 5.03 %                 2                        0                              2
– not sure about these, but it's on the MTV webpages,
the small parties were doing really marginally
now off to bed, as i need to write from the morning tomorrow…

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