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More doubtful reactions to Gordon Bajnai’s comeback

October 17th, 2012

A libertarian columnist thinks the opposition is not ready to introduce measures that would save the country. Therefore Bajnai will be their hostage. A centrist analyst says Bajnai has no other choice than to take the opportunity of an opposition rally to present himself. A former Free Democrat party chairman thinks the opposition has little time left to agree on a joint strategy and leading faces.

On October 23rd, former Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai is expected to address an anti-government rally. Although there has been much talk about the necessity of cooperation between anti-government forces (excluding Jobbik) because of the new ‘first past the post’ election system, LMP, MSZP and DK have so far shown little inclination to cooperate. The rally organiser, Milla, a grass roots organization, has taken an anti-party stance, asking politicians to stay away from its demonstrations. So for them, accepting Bajnai as one of the main speakers is seen as a change in direction, criticized by many earlier supporters. (See BudaPost October 16.)

Gábor Török says in his blog that Bajnai has been ‘back’ in Hungarian politics for quite a while already, but the determination of the MSZP leader Attila Mesterházy to hang on to his leading role and potential premiership, has given Bajnai little opportunity to present himself as a candidate. By associating with Milla, the popular political scientist argues, Bajnai offers further opportunities for Mesterházy to attack him, for  the civic grass roots movement has had “a rather ambivalent” attitude towards the MSZP. Bajnai is taking a risk which may only pay off if relations between Milla and the MSZP do not grow even more embittered, and if the MSZP does not become strong enough to present itself as the sole credible challenger to Fidesz. Further preconditions of Bajnai’s success are strong support within the Socialist party and a message from opinion and business leaders that Bajnai is acceptable to them while Mesterházy is not – Török adds.

In HVG, László Seres contends that Bajnai will be a mere a “bio-prop” at the Milla demonstration, since most Milla people, and especially the supporters of Solidarity, the co-sponsoring trade union, expect more and not less welfare spending. According to Seres who is a major libertarian voice in Hungary, the over-protective state must be dismantled for Hungary to survive, including the introduction of tuition fees at universities, co-payment in public health and private pension funds. Bajnai might simply become a prisoner of opposition forces unless he is able to create a new movement – he concludes.

In an interview on RotaPress, a liberal news site, Gábor Kuncze former Minister of the Interior and one-time chairman of the Free Democrats (a liberal party that was obliterated at the last elections), criticises the opposition parties because they “want to get stronger” before sitting down to negotiate. But getting stronger implies directing ugly accusations at each other, a process that will end in the highly unlikely situation where parties who threw mud at each other for three years suddenly come to an agreement, surprising their own voters. The opposition does not have enough time left for such manoeuvres –the former minister warns.

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