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Was LMP wrong not to join the opposition round table?

February 1st, 2012

A left wing columnist believes LMP has made a moral rather than a political choice. A prestigious political analyst thinks the “outsider attitude” adopted by LMP is the only politically promising approach.

The annual congress of LMP decided last weekend that the party would not join the “opposition round table” proposed by anti-government former trade union leaders. Earlier this year, parliamentary floor leader and de facto party leader András Schiffer resigned because of controversies within the parliamentary group. Observers believe his flat rejection of any form of organised co-operation with the left-wing parties was only supported by a minority of his fellow MPs. Now the party congress has elected a new person to replace him, but has also confirmed his political line. LMP has been profusely criticised by left-wing pundits who believe the right-wing government is building an anti-democratic regime which can only be toppled by a coalition of democratic opposition forces (which means all opposition parties, except the far right Jobbik).

In Népszabadság, Miklós Hargitai admits that by joining a left-wing alliance, LMP would give up its original target. It is called “Politics Can Be Different”, precisely because it wanted to represent those who disliked the destructive mutual hatred that characterised the bipolar system of Hungarian politics. On the other hand, the left-wing commentator remarks, if LMP’s abstention prevents the opposition toppling the government, then even the bipolar system will be in jeopardy, although it is still better than a one-party system. LMP “has another two and a half years to prove that a way out of the bipolar setup is more than a naïve illusion”.

Hungary’s most popular independent political analyst understands the concerns voiced by left-wing personalities, but believes LMP would be deeply mistaken to accept their suggestions. For the moment, Gábor Török argues, the main question concerning the next elections, is not who should have joint candidates with whom, but where the huge mass of undecided voters will go. And he suggests that most of the disillusioned voters are looking for something new, not just a mere negation of the current government. LMP would lose its chance to win them over if they decided to join an opposition alliance now.

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