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LMP floor-leader resigns

January 17th, 2012

Political commentators agree that the resignation of LMP floor-leader András Schiffer signals the beginning of a new era, not only for his party but for the whole Hungarian political scene.

András Schiffer resigned as floor-leader of the opposition green party Lehet Más a Politika (Politics Can Be Different) on Saturday. Schiffer told the LMP political council that he is quitting all senior decision-making bodies of the party, and will not run for any post in the future. Schiffer said he felt a lack of support for his position on strategic issues. “Some recent attacks and leaks suggest that trust has splintered,” he said.

Something is definitely changing in Hungarian politics – writes Gyula T. Máté in Magyar Hírlap, and suggests that the political left needs LMP to legitimize the coalition of Socialists, “civic organizations”, former union leaders and the Democratic Coalition of former PM Ferenc Gyurcsány.

The right wing commentator believes András Schiffer has resisted those endeavours, although he might never admit it publicly.

Népszabadság admits that a small party can easily be swallowed by the Socialists, but the commentator, Ervin Tamás believes that András Schiffer thought independence meant neutrality, and did not realise that as there is more and more aggression on the Hungarian political scene, the party simply had to commit itself.

In 2010 LMP attracted disillusioned voters by suggesting that politics could be different, but by entering parliament, MPs found it more and more difficult to keep the same distance from all political sides.

The Hungarian political crisis has made the party’s debates more visible, and András Schiffer became more and more isolated –Népszabadság suggests.

Véleményvezér recalls the fate of the former liberal SZDSZ party (Free Democrats). At the beginning of the 90s party president Péter Tölgyessy wanted to position the Free Democrats in the political centre, but had to resign in the end.

“As the politics of Fidesz took a radical and anti-Western turn in the last 18 months, the governing party alienated its moderate right-wing and left wing supporters”, creating a huge hiatus in the Hungarian political scene, the independent conservative blogger believes. This is precisely the void András Schiffer wanted to fill, but now LMP is more likely to form a coalition with what the blogger calls “the discredited left-wing parties.”

A commentator at the liberal news-site Hírszerző praises András Schiffer for simply leaving and not beginning to destroy his own party as former PM Ferenc Gyurcsány did with the Socialists. “He definitely committed mistakes, and he was far from the liberal minimum even when he was on his best form, but his step should be congratulated” – writes Zoltán Czeglédi.

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