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Gyurcsány and the Socialist Party: mounting tension

September 26th, 2011

The Socialist party is wrong to concentrate on its own political infighting instead of attacking the government’s economic policy – left and right wing newspapers agree. Népszabadság believes the Gyurcsány saga plays into the hands of Fidesz, while according to Magyar Nemzet, Ferenc Gyurcsány and his followers have decided to split the Socialist Party, because they cannot take it over.

Former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány’s Democratic Coalition Platform (inside the MSZP) proposed that MPs who gained seats from the party list (the current electoral system incorporates both party lists and individual constituencies) should return their mandates, and the membership should then decide whether they will continue or be replaced by others.

The parliamentary group of the party rejected the initiative at its extraordinary session on Thursday. In an obvious reference to Ferenc Gyurcsány, who is also an MP, party chairman Attila Mesterházy said Socialist MPs can return their mandates at any time. “It is not obligatory to remain a member of the Socialist Party if this means engaging in constant skirmishes and unacceptable compromises,” he added. After the party’s National Council met on Saturday, Népszabadság suggested that the split now seems unavoidable and will take place in November at the latest

It is in the best interest of Fidesz to keep Ferenc Gyurcsány in the spotlight, and this endeavour is much helped by the former PM’s character – writes Ákos Tóth in Népszabadság.  Gyurcsány “is unable to either spit out or to swallow” the party, Ákos Tóth believes, and predicts that pro-Fidesz media will cover Gyurcsány’s every move, in order to divert public attention from the country’s economic problems and the government’s mistakes, as well as to prevent the Socialists from focussing on them.

The Socialists should not attack Fidesz on each and every occasion, “but rather   shrewdly and with genuine sympathy appeal to the lower middle-classes”. Instead, they are busy dealing with Gyurcsány, which not only absorbs their energy, but stigmatizes them further. It is Gyurcsány’s responsibility if he does not understand that. It is even worse if he does”(and continues to behave in the same way) – Népszabadság comments

The pro-government Magyar Nemzet believes that the current state of the economy suits left wing parties well, as it should create an environment in which “rousing opposition demagoguery” is effective.

Instead, “the Socialists have now gone overboard with this conflict, and from now on it will be impossible to ignore their destructive debates,” even if they manage to engineer an illusion of compromise, or hold a congress with a veil of unity – deputy editor Szabolcs Szerető writes in an editorial in the right wing daily.

Ferenc Gyurcsány and his followers have accepted that they cannot take over the Socalist Party, so they have begun to write a new scenario to split it comments Magyar Nemzet.

“Gyurcsány has lost his temper. His self-control. And his judgement. Gyurcsány has decided to burn all the bridges” – suggests Zsolt Bayer in Magyar Hírlap.

As he sees it, the former PM’s biggest fear is that he will be forgotten. “Gyurcsány would gladly go to prison for 500 years if that ensured him power in the future,” – writes Zsolt Bayer, in reference to charges the Socialist politician may face for abuse of office in a real estate transaction related to a casino development project. (See  BudaPost, September 9.)

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