A leading columnist at Magyar Nemzet thinks the analysis published by former PM Gordon Bajnai’s thinktank, proves that Hungary is a democracy – it is up to the opposition to present an attractive alternative to Fidesz.
In a Magyar Nemzet editorial, deputy editor Szabolcs Szerető begins by praising the analysis of the Haza és Haladás foundation, chaired by Gordon Bajnai, on the chances of the opposition under the new electoral system (see BudaPost, August 17). He recalls that in 1994 the then ruling MSZP-SZDSZ coalition, which enjoyed a two-thirds majority, changed the rules for the municipal elections only a few months before the vote, abolishing the second round and introducing a first-pass-the-post system. They did so, Szerető says, to capture ground in the municipalities, after the first freely elected centre-right government lost the general elections. This propelled the fragmented right-of-centre political forces, he suggests, towards a broader alliance. The Fidesz-led government is now introducing a similar system for 2014, and – as the authors of the paper argued – this will compel parties on the left to cooperate. On the whole the new system is not so different from the previous one: it is a democratic process which naturally requires certain tactics to maximise voter support. A political force deemed trustworthy by the voters, with a strong programme, can win over the country – the question is if there is a real demand for the Hungarian left, Szerető says. So far, he concludes, even the recipe of Haza és Haladás does not seem to guarantee an opposition victory, in view of recent polls, interim election results, and ‘fading’ left-wing movements.