Hungary: Fidesz MP candidate beats anti-Semitic opposition candidate in by-election

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Zsófia Koncz, the candidate of the ruling Fidesz party, won the by-election in Hungary’s northeastern Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén county against László Bíró, a right-wing politician infamous for his racial slurs against both Jews and the Roma, daily Magyar Nemzet reports. With 99.09 percent of the votes counted, Koncz received 50.87 percent, Bíró 45.9 percent while the rest was divided between two independent candidates.

The case was widely considered a litmus test of the power of the opposition coalition, with seven — mostly left-wing — parties throwing their weight behind Bíró despite his anti-Semitic remarks. Bíró, who belongs to the right-wing Jobbik party, caused outrage by airing, among other things, slurs against Jewish tourists with traditional sideburns, referring to them as lice-ridden, while on another occasion he said, “The country must be protected not only from the Hassan but also from the Sztojka”, a reference to a common Roma family name.

He also referred to Budapest as “Judapest” in a slur against Jewish people. 

Koncz’s victory is also crucial for the ruling conservative Fidesz party because despite major victories at both the 2018 general elections and the 2019 European elections, Fidesz has not won a by-election since 2011, with opposition parties fielding joint candidates. Koncz is the daughter of former Fidesz MP and mayor of Szerencs Ferenc Koncz, whose death at the age of 60 in July triggered the by-election.

Upon seeing the preliminary results last night, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán congratulated Koncz in a Facebook message.

“Congratulations, Zsófia Koncz! Your father would be really proud of you now, as are we all. See you in Parliament!” Orbán wrote.

Title image: Jobbik MP candidate László Bíró.

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