As the leaders of the two main left-wing parties exchange blows, analysts and pundits across the political spectrum assess the chances of the Left at the 2018 election.
In an interview with Klub Rádió on Friday, former PM Gyurcsány accused the MSZP leadership of trying to “politically murder” him and “take over” his party, the Democratic Coalition. Ferenc Gyurcsány interpreted MSZP leader Gyula Molnár’s wish to lure as many as 150 to 200 thousand DK voters to the Socialists as as a “declaration of war”. Mr Gyurcsány also criticized Socialist frontrunner Botka for not being critical enough of the governing forces.
In Heti Világgazdaság, György Marosán interprets the exchange between the left-wing leaders as a “competition of alpha-males”. The left-wing columnist finds it sad that the “clans of the Left” are immersed in a battle for leadership. Marosán thinks that the Left has a chance to defeat Fidesz only if the “democratic opposition” unites against PM Orbán’s “antidemocratic authoritarianism”. Marosán predicts that MSZP frontrunner Botka will fail to create a strong alternative to the current government without cooperating with Ferenc Gyurcsány (see BudaPost February 23).
In an interview with 168 Óra, political analyst Dániel Róna suggests that the Left has no realistic chance to win the 2018 Parliamentary election, but they may deny Fidesz enough seats to prevent it from winning a landslide. Discussing his electoral mandate calculator, Róna notes that if current party sympathies remained unchanged, Fidesz could again secure a two-thirds majority in Parliament. He cautions against exaggerating the implications of the current tug-of-war between the MSZP and the Democratic Coalition. Róna recalls that the opposition had similar disputes a year ahead of the last election, but ultimately could strike a deal.
In Magyar Demokrata, Péter Bándy points out that the Left has become extremely fragmented. The pro-government columnist remarks that in addition to the Momentum movement, István Pukli (see BudaPost through March 17, 2016) and former MDF politician György Gémesi have also registered their own new parties and announced plans to run in 2018. In light of all this, Bándy finds it very unlikely that the opposition parties could unite.
In Heti Válasz András Bódis thinks that the Left is in a state of a civil war. “At this point, supporters of the Democratic Coalition hate the MSZP more than PM Orbán, and vice versa,” the conservative pundit comments. Bódis thinks that under these circumstances, it does not make much sense to insist on finding joint left-wing candidates through primaries, as such an exercise would only deepen the cleavages dividing the main left-wing parties.
In Magyar Idők, János Csontos suspects that despite the current tough exchange, the MSZP and the Democratic Coalition will forge a compromise and cooperate in the 2018 election. The pro-government commentator interprets the current dispute as a battle for ideological leadership between the social democratic MSZP and the more liberal Democratic Coalition. But as it is very unlikely that either of them could alone challenge the governing Fidesz party, the two left-wing parties will broker a deal before the 2018 election, Csontos concludes.
In Népszava, Judit N. Kósa wonders whether any at all is actually at stake in the competition within the Left. The left-wing commentator refers to a recent survey of the Medián pollster company that found that only 43 per cent of Hungarian voters want to replace the current government. Kósa thinks that the relatively low volume of anti-government sentiment is partly the result of the domination of pro-government voices in the media. Kósa speculates that the challenge the Left has to face runs deeper than suggested by the current disputes. In order to succeed, the Left should not only unite, but should also have politicians who could earn the trust and support of the electorate, Kósa warns.