Gergely Kálló: It was a historic situation, a historic election and we had a historic victory

“We had a huge victory and let me thank all voters who participated in this triumph and cast their ballots,” Gergely Kálló said in his Sunday night press conference after the by-election. 

Noting that the voter turnout was not particularly high, he asserted that the opposition could nonetheless with a wide margin. Mr Kálló also thanked his opponents, saying that “although the campaign was not always clean and the past period had many negative elements as well, I still thank them for being partners in trying to run a positive campaign overall”. Expressing his gratitude to all Fidesz and non-Fidesz voters who cast their ballots for other candidates, Mr Kálló thanked them for exercising their democratic rights. 

“It was a historic situation, a historic election and the opposition could achieve a historic victory” he said. He added that they can continue going on the path they set out on today. “Today we set out on a path and we trust that we can draw the right conclusions in the upcoming months so that we can go into the 2022 elections with a joint plan and renewed effort, hopefully leading to the replacement of this government.”

“The day of truth has come,” Jobbik’s president Péter Jakab began his speech who said that while Viktor Orbán held his “state of the nation” speech and graded himself A+, the people of Dunaújváros and its region gave an F to the government’s performance. According to the party president, the message of the people was that they had had enough of hatemongering, lies, threats, corruption and low wages, and they expected the opposition to tackle these issues. Mr Jakab believes this election sends the message to the opposition that running a single opposition candidate can be the recipe for success in the constituencies. Meanwhile, it is also a message for the government, he went on, that they should start doing some governing or, if they can’t, they should quit politics. As he put it, if Viktor Orbán fails to change his policies, the 2022 elections will see 106 other candidates joining Gergely Kálló who beat Fidesz today.

Dunaújváros mayor Tamás Pintér stressed how wide the margin was and agreed that the opposition’s coordination can bring similar results nationwide. Zsolt Mezei, the president of Democratic Coalition’s Dunaújváros group said this parliamentary by-election was a major step in the opposition cooperation going on since the last municipal elections. The Socialist Party’s Fejér County president András Horváth expressed his hope that Mr Kálló will represent the entire region and not only the city of Dunaújváros. In his opinion, the recipe for success was born: a good candidate and cooperation across the entire opposition. He added that Fidesz would have no chance in 2022. Socialist MP Ágnes Kunhalmi thanked leftist and Socialist voters for understanding how high the stakes were and how they needed a broad, all-round cooperation to beat Fidesz. The Socialist politician agreed that this was the people’s response to Mr Orbán’s state of the nation speech and his “new, lying national consultation”. Dialogue for Hungary’s board member and the city’s vice mayor Zsolt Szabó said they had proven that they had always been able to focus on what connected them rather than what separated them, ever since they started leading Dunaújváros together. He stressed that the opposition won with a wider margin now than in last October.

“Hungary’s opposition parties were able to fight together and work together, our cooperation was seamless throughout the campaign,” the newly-elected MP’s campaign manager Gábor Szabó told us. He added they could rely on the local activists and national politicians of each opposition party, so they could allocate more resources than if each candidate had run separately. According to his analysis, the only way for the opposition parties is to run one candidate against Fidesz in each single-member constituency. “The opposition parties must start coordinating their efforts to develop common campaign strategies and patterns. This walloping victory is an excellent example and pattern to follow for the opposition parties”, he concluded.


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