In Hungary, opposition primaries interrupted by computer failure

It is a failure that arouses suspicion. In Hungary, the first opposition primaries, to form a united front against sovereignist leader Viktor Orban, were interrupted on Saturday, September 18, by a computer problem. The candidates immediately blamed the government.

A surge of connections was observed two hours after the kick-off in the morning, causing an overload of the computer system and an end to electronic voting. The process is set to resume on Monday but it will take 36 hours to determine the exact causes of the problem, according to one of the organizers.

Without delay, the opposition leaders immediately accused the Prime Minister of being behind the incident, described as “Cyberattack” : “The circles of power were afraid (…) in the face of the desire for change” most “Their maneuver will not work”. “No matter the attack, no matter where it comes from, there is no force capable of stopping this historic process”, they added in a joint statement.

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An alliance going from the left to the nationalists

The liberal and environmentalist mayor of Budapest, Gergely Karacsony, who is among the favorites of the primary, spoke in the media of elements pointing to “Chinese servers”, calling on voters to re-mobilize next week.

The vote must take place until September 26 to decide between the five contenders for the post of Prime Minister, then if necessary from October 4 to 10, for a second round to decide between the three who came out on top.

It is an unprecedented process that is taking place in this Central European country with 9.8 million inhabitants, governed since 2010 by Viktor Orban’s Fidesz. Driven by promising municipal elections in 2019 and favorable polls, six parties ranging from the left to the nationalists have joined forces to try to beat the outgoing head of government in the legislative elections next April.

“Despite ideological cleavages”, the “Everything except Orban” outweighs other considerations, believes analyst Daniel Mikecz of the Republikon think tank. The various formations are united by their detestation of the sovereignist Prime Minister of 58 years, customary of the arm wrestling with Brussels on migrants or the question of homosexual people. All accuse him of authoritarian drift and corruption.

Five candidates are in the running for the post of future Prime Minister and a hundred representatives will also have to be chosen in each of the constituencies. In addition to Mr. Karacsony (46), Peter Jakab (41), the leader of Jobbik, a party with a far-right past and Socialist MEP Klara Dobrev (49) appear well placed in the polls.

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A sacred union denounced by Orban

This primary is the result of a long journey that began in December 2020. Whether liberal, environmentalist, socialist or from the extreme right, the parties represented in Parliament have signed a joint declaration. They embarked on a government program, even though they had presented themselves divided against Fidesz in the three previous elections, won hands down by the latter.

An alliance all the more essential as Viktor Orban “Changed the electoral law” once in power, reshaping the system to his advantage according to his detractors. “Before, we had a two-tower system”, recalls Ferenc Gelencser, candidate of the centrist Momentum movement.

This sacred union is vigorously denounced by the faithful of Mr. Orban as being artificial and morally questionable. Zoltan Kovacs, government spokesperson, deplored in 2019 a “Alliance with the anti-Semitic right”, in reference to the past of Jobbik.

Until 2013, this nationalist formation burned European flags and suggested drawing up lists of Jews. ” at risk “. Yesterday ostracized, it has in recent years made an attempt to refocus.

The World with AFP