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Weaknesses of the opposition, i.a. on Azerbaijan

September 6th, 2012

Commentators argue that the left-of-centre opposition in Hungary is fragmented, and despite some hopes to the contrary, LMP and MSZP remain unlikely allies. Civic organizations offer no alternatives. They have also failed to perform well in condemning the diplomatic blunder caused by the transfer of a convicted Azeri murderer to his home country. (See BudaPost, September 1 through 5)

Véleményvezér maintains that opposition parties and leaders have nothing to say to the electorate, while most of them are ignorant of this fact. The electorate is not satisfied with the simple  desire of the opposition desire to beat Fidesz, the author argues. After all, they did vote for a major change in Hungarian political and economic culture when they rewarded Fidesz with a two-thirds majority. The opposition has failed to take advantage of the fall in popularity of the government,   because they are unable to formulate clear strategies and offer alternative programmes. Since his return from a summer vacation, Viktor Orbán has put considerable effort into explaining “why everything is just fine” to his followers, while opposition leaders such as (Socialist Party chairman) Attila Mesterhazy “once again said something that no one can remember,” while all that (far-right Jobbik leader) Gábor Vona has to offer is to defend the Hungarian National Guard, a paramilitary organization that is highly active despite having been banned. The author says that there are just two political personalities who do see the problem of opposition strategies: former Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai who disassociated himself both from the Socialists, and from Ferenc Gyurcsány in whose cabinet he served before replacing him. And András Schiffer, the founder of the green-alternative LMP party. Both of them recognise that the opposition lacks vision, and that no amount of cooperation can help that. Opposition groups must find ways to speak to the experts, as well as to everyday citizens, to explain how they wish to find solutions to the crisis and introduce major and lasting changes that markedly differ from the policies of Fidesz, Véleményvezér suggests.

The same note of disappointment can be discerned in reactions to the recent activities of civic groups such as the September 4th demonstration of “Milla”, the Facebook-based group that mobilized tens of thousands of people when it launched its campaign against the new media law and the new constitution back in 2010 (See BudaPost, March 16 and March 26). In Magyar Narancs, György Vári remarks that only 2000 people showed up at the rally held “to apologise to Armenia” for the government’s decision to transfer the murderer of an Armenian officer to his native Azerbaijan where he was immediately set free and promoted. Vári finds the message of the rally was disappointingly shallow. Beyond apologising to Armenia, the speakers on stage had nothing to offer. “Milla”, Vári notes, has had its odd moments, but it used to be a refreshing movement all the same – if only it had more stamina and ideas, concludes the author, one would be more inclined to attend its demonstrations.

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