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Is Orbán’s offer to negotiate a trap?

February 14th, 2012

A liberal commentator cautions the opposition parties against cooperating with Viktor Orbán’s government. He suspects that the government has only proposed talks with the opposition in order to strengthen its own legitimacy and entrench its power for years to come.

Prominent government politicians, including Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, have recently hinted that the government will strike a more conciliatory tone both with the opposition and the government’s international critics during the time remaining before the next election (2014). Fidesz floor-leader János Lázár told Népszabadság that the government would involve the opposition parties in drafting the bill on voting procedures and the party financing act.

By pretending to be more willing to cooperate with the opposition, the government is trying to hinder the left in its mobilization campaign,” writes Zoltán Miklósi in Szuverén.

According to the liberal philosopher, after the uncompromising stance of the past one and a half years, the government now wants to improve its democratic image by opening up the possibility of cooperation with the opposition parties. “We can reject out of hand the possibility that the government is honest in seeking consensus,” Miklósi believes. He contends that the intention of Fidesz is either simply to calm the markets and reach an easier deal with the IMF, or that it has finally realised that the constant “cold civil war” with the opposition will cost it votes.

Miklósi believes the opposition should only cooperate with the government if the Media Law, the Electoral Law and the Fundamental Law can all be renegotiated. He is convinced that, unless this happens, “the democratic rule of law cannot be restored” and “fair political competition is an illusion.”

If the opposition parties agree to discuss minor laws, they will lose the opportunity to continue public mobilization and street politics, which are its only effective measures against the Orbán regime which dominates the media and the courts, Miklósi contends.

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