Commenting on PM Orbán’s unwillingness to participate in a TV debate of candidates for the premiership, a leading conservative columnist says fair play and reasonable arguments would be prerequisites for a meaningful political debate.
In Magyar Nemzet, Zsuzsanna Körmendy finds it peculiar that both the left and the far-right accuse PM Orbán of cowardice and anti-democratic manners for his refusal to participate in a pre-electoral TV debate with his main rivals (see BudaPost March 20). Opposition politicians who complain about the absence of meaningful public discussion never miss a chance for their vulgar personal attacks on the Prime Minister, the conservative columnist contends. Körmendy recalls that in the TV debate before the 2006 Parliamentary election, then PM Gyurcsány criticized the first Orbán government by citing inaccurate statistics and what Körmendy considers as outright lies in order to manipulate the public. Körmendy suggests that public debates do not serve reasonable and civilized deliberation unless opposition politicians are willing to put their crude aggression aside and focus instead on political visions and programs. A meaningful debate would also require a strong challenger to PM Orbán whom voters could regard as a credible alternative to the incumbent, Körmendy remarks. According to current polls, she claims, there is no opposition politician in sight who even comes close to Mr Orbán in popularity.