Entries RSS Feed Share Send to Facebook Tweet This Accessible version

The LMP’s failed quest for a referendum

April 6th, 2012

A friendly columnist believes that the failure of the LMP to gather the 200 thousand signatures for their referendum project was a defeat for the left-wing opposition as a whole.

To claim victory after a crushing defeat will never lead to success,” writes Richárd Molnár  in Népszava

The LMP proposed a referendum on three issues concerning labour rights and a fourth to restore the school-leaving age to 18 years, but stressed in its campaign that what was at stake was a simple principle: can government policies in general be voted down? Instead of the required 200 thousand signatures, it could only gather 160 thousand by the legal deadline. As over 100,000 people did sign, Parliament is obliged to debate the issue and could in theory still agree to the referendum, although this is extremely unlikely. LMP leaders say that the campaign has strengthened their organisational network.

160 thousand is a fine score in itself, Molnár remarks, but it clearly proves that the LMP overestimated its strength. They maintained throughout the month-long campaign that they sought a popular verdict on the government’s record in office. Put another way, their failure is a victory for the governing parties over the whole of the left-wing opposition, since the initiative was also supported by the Socialists and the Democratic Coalition. Molnár blames the LMP for not reckoning with the political apathy so widespread in the population. They should also have recognised that their choice of questions was much less appealing than that of   FIDESZ in 2008, whose successful referendum that spring inflicted a fatal blow on the then governing left-liberal coalition, he argues.

Molnár agrees nonetheless that “the referendum is the only remaining effective tool against the steam-roller of the two thirds majority.” And he concludes from the failure of the attempted referendum that the Left still has a long way to go before it can successfully challenge the governing parties.

Tags: , , ,