September 26, 2019

Secret Tape Hits Anti-Orban Opposition’s Momentum in Budapest
(Bloomberg) -- A secret recording threatened to throw a wrench into an election campaign in Hungary as the opposition to Prime Minister Viktor Orban appeared to close a gap in polls in the race for mayor of Budapest.Gergely Karacsony, the joint opposition candidate to lead Budapest, is heard on an audio tape appearing to complain about corruption and power struggles within the Socialist Party, one of the groups backing him. The recording was first published on YouTube before being picked up by others including the powerful media outlets loyal to Orban.Karacsony confirmed he was speaking on the tape, though he said the recording was manipulated and redacted.The development risks denting the opposition’s momentum and break the fragile alliance after parties overcame rivalries to back joint candidates in cities across Hungary. It comes ahead of the Oct. 13 nationwide municipal elections and as Karacsony was shown in a statistical tie in several polls with Istvan Tarlos, the Orban-backed Budapest mayor who’s seeking a third term.The Budapest vote is seen as key for Orban’s opponents to weaken the premier’s grip on power and serve as a springboard before general elections in 2022.“We’ve worked incredibly hard to unite the opposition,” Karacsony said in a Facebook post in which he accused Orban’s party of manipulation and of using secret service methods to record a private conversation.To contact the reporter on this story: Zoltan Simon in Budapest at zsimon@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net, Andrea Dudik, Andras GergelyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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