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Former PM Gyurcsány begins 7-day hunger strike

September 12th, 2012

Commentators on both the right and the left agree that former Premier Gyurcsány’s decision to start a hunger strike in protest against the government’s electoral reform is a piece of theatre which cannot be taken seriously, and will do little to mobilize the masses.

Former PM Ferenc Gyurcsány and three other leaders of the Democratic Coalition party set up tents in front of Parliament and started a 7-day hunger strike to protest against the government’s plans to change the electoral law (see BudaPost June 2). According to the government’s latest proposal, voters will have more than 8 months before the next election to register. Fidesz also plans to abolish the current system of recommendation slips. According to analysts, this will help smaller parties and independent candidates who could not collect the required number of slips necessary to run for a place in Parliament.

, László Kiss comments in Magyar Hírlap, on the former Socialist Premier’s hunger strike. The right-wing suggest that this is further proof, if any were needed, that Gyurcsány does not intend to retire from politics any time soon, and will not refrain from such theatrical gestures in order to win public attention.

Magyar Nemzet, the main pro-government daily devotes only a brief and ironic opinion piece to Gyurcsány’s hunger strike. György Pihál writes that Gyurcsány’s latest “political circus stunt” cannot be taken seriously, and will have no impact.

Népszabadság in a front page editorial also labels Gyurcsány’s hunger strike a highly theatrical gesture. The left-wing daily, however, adds that Gyurcsány’s action is probably a last ditch attempt to protest against an electoral reform of the government, the only purpose of which is to entrench the power of Fidesz by limiting political rights.

Writing in the same daily, Károly Lencsés reports that even opposition politicians seem to agree that the governments’ proposal does not violate the constitution. Although the electoral reform is politically motivated and aims at disqualifying last minute voters who may vote against the current government, its actual wording is in line with constitutional standards, Lencsés contends.

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