Commentators across the political spectrum believe that if the Fidesz tycoon does actually challenge the official Fidesz candidate in the by-election scheduled for February next year, then the rift between him and the Prime Minister must be even more serious than observers realised.
On Válasz, András Bódis writes that government politicians were shocked to hear that Lajos Simicska did not dismiss as sheer gossip the idea that he should run for the post left vacant by the new Hungarian European Commissioner, Tibor Navracsics. On the contrary, the businessman and founder of the Fidesz business hinterland said he was seriously considering a proposal made by his friends to run for the seat. Despite recent behind the scenes clashes between Mr Simicska and the Prime Minister (See BudaPost, September 23), politicians and observers alike believed until now that the two men would ultimately remain loyal to one another.
In its front page editorial, Népszabadság suggests that the political atmosphere has become more heated than at any time before the three nationwide elections of the past year, because “the regime has weakened”. The editors mention the “landslide loss of support” Fidesz has suffered according to the latest polls (from 37 to 25 per cent of all respondents over one month. Just two months earlier Fidesz scored 30 per cent in the same regular monthly poll, while the MSZP and Jobbik show barely perceptible increases from their usual 10 to 11 per cent ratings). Népszabadság interprets Smicska’s possible candidacy as proof that “even PM Orbán’s closest allies have begun turning away from his regime”.