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Parliamentary majority facing the storm

September 2nd, 2011

A left-wing pundit ponders whether the country’s financial difficulties may encroach on the government’s two thirds majority in Parliament. He draws inspiration from an article by a right-wing colleague.

In Népszabadság, deputy editor Gábor Horváth contends that the spending cuts to be introduced by the government will be even more painful than the austerity measures imposed by the Socialist-led cabinet during the second half of the past decade. At that time, the restrictions were code-named ‘reforms’; now they have been rechristened ‘reorganisation,’ but that makes little difference. What counts is that “the economy and society are worse off, the people have no more reserves, they have been deceived by all political forces and are increasingly bad-tempered.” Might all this lead to political change? – Horváth wonders.

He finds encouraging sentences in Tuesday’s Magyar Nemzet, where a commentator raised the possibility that it might become increasingly difficult for the ruling parties to secure a two thirds majority behind their new laws. That is  the explanation, according to the conservative commentator Örs Tihanyi, for the prime minister’s desire to push through pivotal laws which require a two thirds majority, before the end of the year. The crisis will inevitably erode the popularity of the governing forces, “which is bound to have a (negative) impact on the mood of the parliamentary majority.”

Népszabadság’s commentator sees no real chance, nonetheless, for the opposition to muster at least one third of the mandates in parliament. PM Orbán chose his MPs very carefully, and even if they were inclined to desert the majority, they would have nothing to gain and a lot to lose. The Prime Minister’s two thirds majority will most probably last until the next elections, Horváth believes, and the only hope he harbours is based on a sentence borrowed from Magyar Nemzet’s Örs Tihanyi: “The future will hold more surprises than expected.”

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