Gergely Karácsony

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Gergely Karácsony
Karácsony in 2024
Mayor of Budapest
Assumed office
13 October 2019
Preceded byIstván Tarlós
Mayor of Zugló
District XIV, Budapest
In office
12 October 2014 – 13 October 2019
Preceded byFerenc Papcsák
Succeeded byCsaba Horváth
Member of the National Assembly
In office
14 May 2010 – 5 May 2014
In office
8 May 2018 – 28 May 2018
Personal details
Born (1975-06-11) 11 June 1975 (age 48)
Fehérgyarmat, Hungary
Political partyPM (2013–present)
LMP (2009–2013)
Other political
United for Hungary (2020–present)
SpouseVirág Kiss
Alma materEötvös Loránd University (BA)
ProfessionPolitical scientist, politician

Gergely Szilveszter Karácsony (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈkɒraːt͡ʃoɲ ˌɡɛrɡɛj ˌsilvɛstɛr]; born 11 June 1975) is a Hungarian politician, political scientist and current Mayor of Budapest. He previously served as member of the National Assembly (MP) from 2010 to 2014 and Mayor of Zugló from 2014 to 2019.


Karácsony worked for the Medián market and public opinion research company as a research manager. He became Director of Research in 2007. Between 2002 and 2008 he was a political advisor at the Prime Minister's Office.[2] In addition to that, he worked as a teaching assistant at the Corvinus University of Budapest from 2004, an assistant lecturer from 2007 and an assistant professor from 2008.

In May 2021, the Hungarian Office of Education (Oktatási Hivatal) opened an investigation into his appointments as assistant lecturer and assistant professor at Corvinus University. In September, the Office concluded that he did not meet some requirements related to language certificates and doctoral studies required by the university's policy.[3]

Political career[edit]

Karácsony became a member of the newly formed Politics Can Be Different (LMP) party in 2009. During the 2010 parliamentary election he served as campaign manager of the party. He became a Member of Parliament from the Budapest regional list (3rd place). In May 2010 he was elected deputy leader of the LMP parliamentary fraction.[4] As a result he left the Medián firm.

He was the party's candidate at the Budapest District II by-election in November 2011. He came third with 6.45 percent after Zsolt Láng (Fidesz) and Katalin Lévai (MSZP).[5] Both MSZP and LMP agreed that the candidate who received fewer votes would withdraw in favour of the stronger one, however Karácsony also participated in the run-off.[6]

In January 2013, the LMP's congress rejected electoral cooperation with other opposition forces, including Together 2014.[7] As a result members of LMP's "Dialogue for Hungary" platform, including Karácsony, announced their decision to leave the opposition party and form a new organisation. Benedek Jávor, leader of the "Dialogue for Hungary" platform, said the eight MPs leaving LMP would keep their parliamentary mandates. The leaving MPs established Dialogue for Hungary (also known as PM, Párbeszéd Magyarországért) as a full-fledged party.[8]

In June 2014, Karácsony was elected co-chair of Dialogue for Hungary (PM) alongside Tímea Szabó, when his predecessor Jávor became a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) in the 2014 European Parliament election.[9] Karácsony won the mayoral election in Zugló during the 2014 local elections as a joint candidate of the Hungarian Socialist Party, Democratic Coalition, and the Together 2014Dialogue for Hungary alliance. According to the new rules, he also became a member of the General Assembly of Budapest.

In April 2017, Karácsony was re-elected co-leader of the Dialogue for Hungary and was also appointed as his party's candidate for the position of prime minister in the 2018 parliamentary election.[10] The Hungarian Socialist Party also elected Karácsony as their candidate for the position of prime minister in December 2017. The two parties also decided to jointly contest the 2018 national election.[11] Consequently, Together have terminated their cooperation agreement with the Dialogue for Hungary.[12] Under the leadership of Karácsony, the MSZP–PM joint list received 11.91% and came only third after Fidesz and Jobbik.[13]

Mayor of Budapest[edit]

In June 2019, in the opposition's first primary election, he was elected[14] as the opposition (MSZP-P-DK-Momentum-LMP-MLP)'s candidate.[15][16][17][18] While Jobbik did not endorse Karácsony outright, the party opted not to run a candidate against him.[19] This left Karácsony as the sole opposition candidate for the position of Lord Mayor of Budapest in the 2019 local elections, against incumbent Lord Mayor István Tarlós, who was supported by the ruling coalition, Fidesz–KDNP. He then went on to win the election on 13 October 2019 with 50.86% of the votes being cast in his favor, with Tarlós receiving 44.10%.[20]

On Karácsony's initiative,[21] the mayors of the capitals of all four Visegrád Group countries signed the Pact of Free Cities in Budapest in December 2019. The pact promotes "common values of freedom, human dignity, democracy, equality, rule of law, social justice, tolerance and cultural diversity".[22]

He gained international popularity in 2021, when he renamed four streets in Budapest to "Free Hong Kong Street", "Uyghur Martyrs Street", "Dalai Lama Street" and "Bishop Xie Shiguang Street" in protest of the Hungarian government's choice to open a branch of the Fudan University in Budapest, which in 2019 changed its statute, removing the phrase "academic independence and freedom of thought" and including "commitment to follow the leadership of the Communist Party",[23][24] thus being considered by Karácsony and the thousands of Hungarian citizens who protested against the opening of the Chinese university as a sign of an excessive expansion of Chinese influence in Hungary.[25][26][27][28][29]

Opposition primary[edit]

In May 2021, six opposition parties formed a coalition against Fidesz and Viktor Orbán in the 2022 national elections. Karácsony ran as the prime ministerial candidate of three parties (PM, MSZP and LMP) in the 2021 primary election. During his candidacy, he announced the establishment of a cross-party political movement called 99 Movement (Hungarian: 99 Mozgalom) on 15 May 2021.[30][31] Karácsony mentioned the following as its main policy goals:

Our purpose and faith are no more, no less: the dethronement of 1 percent of the privileged few for the benefit and benefit of the 99 percent majority. To replace the people of power with the power of the people. For Hungary to breathe, to calm down and to be a common home for all of us. ... The next chapter of Hungary will be the history of all Hungarians. Instead of a country decorated around today's privileged people, we are creating a homeland that offers everyone a chance, a future and a happy life. It is time to build a new policy that represents the interests of 99% of the country instead of 1% of the richest.[32]

He also stressed that he wanted a country where no one considers the other a traitor, where there is no need to choose between homeland and progress, nation and Europe, Budapest and the countryside.[33]

Karácsony came in second in the first round of the opposition primary (27.3%) and, beside a few places in the countryside, he could only win in the constituencies of Budapest, where he is serving as mayor (altogether 15 constituencies).[34] Following a week-long negotiation and political tactics, beside the result of opinion polls, Karácsony dropped out and endorsed Péter Márki-Zay, who came in third place and eventually won the second round against Klára Dobrev and became the nominee of the opposition for the position of prime minister in the 2022 parliamentary election.[35] Political analysts described his withdrawal as a political failure, which, for the first time, has stalled his upward career since 2010. Before the opposition primary, Karácsony was considered the towering favorite of the primary, who in recent years has built an image of the face of the opposition. The ruling party Fidesz also targeted him with a negative campaign (the slogan "Stop Gyurcsány, stop Karácsony!") during the primary. According to experts, Karácsony launched his campaign late, did not campaign in the summer (unlike his opponents), had no strong message and was prematurely focused on the 2022 election and defeating Viktor Orbán.[36]


  1. ^ "Kvíz: melyik politikusé lehet ez a gyerek?" [Quiz: which politician's can this child be?] (in Hungarian). 20 February 2014.
  2. ^ {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ Brückner, Gergely (11 September 2021). "Magyar Nemzet: Karácsony Gergely nem oktathatott volna a Corvinuson". telex (in Hungarian). Retrieved 12 September 2021.
  4. ^ "Schiffer vezeti az LMP képviselőcsoportját" [Schiffer leads the Politics Can Be Different (LMP) political group]. (in Hungarian). 10 May 2010. Retrieved 10 May 2010.
  5. ^ "Fidesz candidate wins Budapest by-election in landslide". 28 November 2011. Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
  6. ^ "Fidesz candidate cruises to victory in closely-watched Budapest by-election". 15 November 2011. Archived from the original on 10 June 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
  7. ^ "LMP rejects proposals for new strategy at party congress". 27 January 2013. Archived from the original on 27 September 2013. Retrieved 8 February 2013.
  8. ^ "LMP rebels to establish Dialogue for Hungary as a full-fledged party". 4 February 2013. Archived from the original on 27 September 2013. Retrieved 8 February 2013.
  9. ^ "Karácsony: Új társelnök az Együtt-PM-ben" [Karácsony: New co-chair of the Together-Dialogue for Hungary alliance]. HVG (in Hungarian). Budapest. 15 June 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  10. ^ "Karácsony Gergely a PM miniszterelnök-jelöltje" [Gergely Karácsony the Dialogue for Hungary candidate for prime minister]. (in Hungarian). 30 April 2017. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  11. ^ "Hivatalos: Karácsony Gergely az MSZP miniszterelnök-jelöltje". (in Hungarian). 12 December 2017. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  12. ^ "Szakított Karácsony Gergellyel az Együtt". 8 December 2017. Archived from the original on 11 February 2018. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  13. ^ Than, Krisztina; Szakacs, Gergely (9 April 2018). "Hungary's Strongman Viktor Orban Wins Third Term in Power". Reuters. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  14. ^ Marianna, Biró (26 June 2019). "Karácsony nyerte az előválasztást". (in Hungarian). Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  15. ^ Bence, Horváth (5 July 2019). "Az összes budapesti kerületben egyetlen jelöltet indít az ellenzék". 444. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  16. ^ ATV. "Itt a budapesti ellenzéki polgármesterjelöltek listája, lesz kerületi előválasztás". Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  17. ^ "Az LMP is beállt a fővárosban az ellenzéki összefogás mögé". (in Hungarian). 15 June 2019. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  18. ^ akiraly (22 August 2019). "Visszalép a Liberálisok főpolgármester-jelöltje". 444. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  19. ^ "Karácsony nem a Jobbik jelöltje, de nem is támogatnak ellene mást « Mérce". Mérce (in Hungarian). 30 June 2019. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  20. ^ "Helyi önkormányzati választások 2019 – Főpolgármester választás" [Local Government Elections 2019 – Mayor's Election] (in Hungarian). Nemzeti Választási Iroda (National Election Office). Archived from the original on 13 October 2019.
  21. ^ "Společné hodnoty i tlak na unii. Hřib podepsal smlouvu s dalšími hlavními městy visegrádské čtyřky". iROZHLAS (in Czech). Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  22. ^ Walker, Shaun (16 December 2019). "Islands in the illiberal storm: central European cities vow to stand together". the Guardian. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  23. ^ A. T. Contributor (19 December 2019). "Students protest at Shanghai's Fudan University". Asia Times. {{cite web}}: |author= has generic name (help)
  24. ^ "復旦大學章程刪除思想自由 學生唱校歌抗議要求學術獨立[影] | 兩岸 | 重點新聞 | 中央社 CNA". (in Chinese). 18 December 2019.
  25. ^ ""Via Hong Kong Libera», "Via dei martiri Uiguri" e «Via Dalai Lama"". Il Post (in Italian). 3 June 2021.
  26. ^ BBC News. "Budapest roads renamed in protest against Chinese university".
  27. ^ BBC News. "Budapest protest against China's Fudan University campus".
  28. ^ "Hungarians protest against planned Chinese university campus". Reuters.
  29. ^ Deutsche Welle ( "Hungarians protest planned Chinese university in Budapest | DW | 5 June 2021". DW.COM.
  30. ^ "Budapest's liberal mayor announces election bid to oust Viktor Orbán". Euronews. Associated Press. 15 May 2021.
  31. ^ "Budapest mayor launches bid to challenge Orban next year". Reuters. 15 May 2021.
  32. ^ Új mozgalmat indított Karácsony a „kiváltságos kevesek trónfosztásáért”Telex, 2021. május 15
  33. ^ Új mozgalmat indít Karácsony –, 2021. május 15.
  34. ^ "Dobrev Klára nyerte az ellenzéki miniszterelnök-jelölti verseny első fordulóját". telex (in Hungarian). 1 October 2021. Retrieved 9 October 2021.
  35. ^ "Karácsony withdraws from opposition primary". Budapest Business Journal. 8 October 2021.
  36. ^ "Az ellenzéki előválasztás 10 fontos tanulsága". telex (in Hungarian). 1 October 2021. Retrieved 9 October 2021.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Mayor of Zugló
Succeeded by
Preceded by Mayor of Budapest
Party political offices
Preceded by Co-President of Dialogue for Hungary
Served alongside: Tímea Szabó
Succeeded by
Preceded by Succeeded by