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A common front with a brownish tint?

July 15th, 2011

The debate over the electoral reform proposed by Fidesz continues with an editorial in Magyar Nemzet, which blames the left wing for seeking foreign support in order to oust the present government, rather than winning over  Hungarian voters.

As we reported in Budapost on Wednesday, Sándor Révész, Népszabadság’s leading columnist called on the left wing opposition to boycott the next elections in order to show the European Union the extent to which the rule of the present conservative government is illegitimate.

Szabolcs Szerető, deputy editor-in-chief of Magyar Nemzet replies on Thursday that the correct response to a government you do not like should actually be rather different: a credible programme, credible leaders, a grassroots presence and a critical mass of voters. The commentator admits that the new electoral system outlined by the presidium of Fidesz, PM Viktor Orbán’s party, would yield less mandates to the opposition than the present one. But even under the current system, the opposition would lose if the balance of power does not change in the meantime. In other words, Szerető suggests, the left wing is portraying its own impotence as though it was the end of democracy.

In response to the LMP initiative of an alliance of convenience between the radical right-wing and the left-wing opposition in order to beat Fidesz and reverse its changes to the constitutional set-up, Szerető remarks that you cannot just treat voters like the numbers of an equation. But he also makes a separate point:  “a common front with a brownish tint would deprive left-liberals of one of their traditional weapons, namely the claim that moderate and radical right wingers are part and parcel of the same problem.”

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