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An alliance with the devil?

July 14th, 2011

A green leader’s proposal that a “technical election alliance” be established between right and left wing opposition parties in order to revoke recent constitutional changes, finds little sympathy among media commentators, but some do not dismiss the idea out of hand. Socialist leaders and spokesmen for the radical right-wing Jobbik have all rejected a proposal by Gergely Karácsony, the deputy floor leader of LMP (Politics Can be Different) to form a temporary ‘alliance of convenience’ at the next parliamentary election. Karácsony does not envisage a political coalition of the three, just a transitional alliance in order to win the vote, restore the previous constitutional set-up, then disband parliament and hold new elections. The idea was provoked by the Fidesz plans for electoral reform which would give a major advantage to the strongest party, i.e Fidesz, as things stand at present. Representatives of both the Socialists and the right wing radicals, Jobbik, have said they would not make alliances with each other under any circumstances.

Though this be madness, yet there is method in it”, observes political scientist Gábor Török, quoting William Shakespeare. The proposal opens a window of opportunity for Fidesz to attack its opponents for fraternizing with a racist, anti-Semitic party, but might also signal an overture between parties on the Left. The LMP has kept a stretch of open water between itself and all other political forces so far, but Karácsony’s proposal shows that the green party has resigned itself to the idea that the left wing parties may have to collaborate in some form or another at the next elections.

Writing in Népszabadság, Sándor Révész ponders another solution. He suggests that the parties of the (left wing) opposition should boycott the next elections, thereby compelling the European Union to regard the Fidesz-government as illegitimate. “Then it would become clear that the position of this country is untenable. And its citizens have a vested interest in putting an end to what is untenable,” the leading left-liberal commentator suggests.

“We have bad news for the opposition: the electoral system outlined by Fidesz is a democratic one” – objects Figyelő’s Iván Bardócz. “It is certainly less proportional than the present one, but that doesn’t make it automatically antidemocratic”. The commentator points out that much less proportional systems are in operation in the United Kingdom and the United States. He adds nonetheless that several details are still unclear, including the borders of the new, enlarged constituencies, which could leave considerable room for gerrymandering. (The Socialist live in fear of the loss of the last two constituencies where they won a majority at the last election, if these are merged with districts where there is a large right-wing majority.)

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