Oszkar Juhasz, of radical nationalist party Jobbik, on Sunday won an interim mayoral election in Gyongyospata, a village in northern Hungary where ethnic tensions have been high for months. Juhasz ran against six independent candidates. Another candidate, Janos Farkas Jr, the head of the local Roma self government, dropped out of the race late Saturday.
Over 60 percent of the village’s residents turned out for the vote which was called after Mayor Laszlo Tabi resigned in April. Tabi said he left the post for health reasons, but did not deny that clashes between radical nationalists and the village’s Roma community were a contributing factor when asked by MTI. In March, activists of the For a Better Future Civil Guard Association staged patrols for weeks in Gyongyospata in protest against what they said was a rising crime rate. The situation turned critical when the paramilitary organisation Vedero (Defence Force) organised a three-day training camp near the village’s Roma neighbourhood late in April but the police intervened.
At the same time, some 267 Roma women and children were bussed out of the village in a move that some described as an “evacuation” but the organiser, Red Cross Hungary, said was a pre-arranged camping trip.