Hungary’s opposition leader Marki-Zay faces Orban, tough electoral map in parliamentary vote

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Hungarians will vote in a parliamentary election on Sunday with polls giving the edge to incumbent Prime Minister Viktor Orban. But for the first time in its 12 years in power, the ruling Fidesz party will face a united opposition coalition led by Peter Marki-Zay.

The 49-year-old opposition leader rose to prominence by defeating Fidesz to become mayor of Hodmezovasarhely, and has had the tough task of leading a coalition of parties ranging from the right-wing Jobbik to liberals, greens and social democrats.

After alleging that Orban has "lost battles" with debt, inflation and Covid-19 at a campaign rally near Budapest, Marki-Zay criticised the incumbent in light of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"[Orban] is still serving Putin's interests," he said. "In Hungary, most people don't think we should stop Brussels. They think that in order to have peace, we have to stop Putin," he said.

Opposition supporters say they are convinced Marki-Zay can win on Sunday. But the coalition will face an electoral map redrawn over the past 12 years to favour Fidesz.

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