Chris Hann at Eurozine:
When things fall apart, it is not surprising that people cling to forces they associate with an earlier age of stability. The voters of Kiskunhalas sent a socialist to the Budapest parliament in 1994 and elected the same individual to be their mayor from 2002 to 2010. He was formerly a communist and a director at the State Farm, yet some claim that he did more to help small businessmen than his Free Democrat predecessor. According to Ferenc he did not do enough, for example in the way of reducing the local tax burden. No post-Socialist mayor has so far been able to attract any large-scale external investment to the town. Disaster struck in 2008 when Lévi-Strauss decided to close its factory and relocate to Romania, where costs were apparently significantly lower. Almost 500 jobs were lost at short notice.
While the surrounding countryside was solidly behind Fidesz by 2010, their mayoral candidate in Kiskunhalas was unpopular and lost to an independent. In 2014 this ‘anomaly’ was corrected with the election of a new Fidesz mayor in his mid-thirties, the scion of a local family with business interests.