In their first reactions to the agreement suddenly clinched by opposition leaders after a painful clash last week (see BudaPost, August 26 and 27), left-wing commentators are cautiously optimistic about the chances of the new alliance.
The two main forces of the left-wing opposition will run separately in next year’s elections, but will avoid splitting the left-wing vote in the constituencies, the two leaders, Attila Mesterházy and Gordon Bajnai agreed on Thursday. Together candidates will run in 31 of the 106 constituencies with Socialist backing while Bajnai’s team will support the Socialist candidates in the remaining 75. Apart from the individual candidates, voters will also cast a vote on one of the party lists, and the left-wing leaders agreed that whoever gets more votes on his party list will be supported by the other as candidate for Prime Minister.
In Népszava, György Sebes writes that the pact gives hope to all those who are sick and tired of the present government. The question is, he continues, whether the parties to the pact will be able to convince the undecided that they can trust the Left. He finds it encouraging that after all the polemics, Bajnai and Mesterházy can finally ”pull the cart in the same direction”.
In its front page editorial, Népszabadság describes the agreement as ”the best among all the bad” options. The parties agreed on a draw, in order to avoid further skirmishes. For the moment it is impossible to gauge what the advantages and the disadvantages of that solution are, Népszabadság remarks; however, one thing is certain: “Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will have two challengers, not one”. Now the Socialists and Bajnai’s supporters will have to convince their constituencies to mutually vote for each other’s candidates, ”and that will not be easy”.