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Opposition divided over united demonstration on October 23rd

October 16th, 2012

A left-wing commentator argues that the October 23rd demonstration is too important to be boycotted by any anti-Fidesz group or voter. A pro-government analyst concludes that this demonstration is the work of bickering intellectual groups who cannot prove to voters their ability to govern the country.

Former Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai, the most likely leader of a united opposition in the eyes of many, will be one of the speakers at the rally organised by the Milla movement and joined by Solidarity, a new trade union, on the anniversary of the 1956 revolution (see BudaPost, October 12). Opposition parties are ambivalent, with the MSZP encouraging its voters to support the demonstration (without carrying party banners), while LMP is divided and former prime minister Gyurcsány is to boycott the rally, although some leading members of his DK party said they would attend.

In Népszabadság, Ervin Tamás argues that despite the narcissism of various opposition leaders, who cannot agree on potential election cooperation, the demonstration is too important for anti-government forces to denounce or even avoid. With a second pro-government rally scheduled for the same day, the demonstration organized by civic groups, independently from any party, is too important to fail. Gordon Bajnai can show what he has to offer if he enters Hungarian politics again, but passing judgement in advance and boycotting the demonstration because of his participation would be foolish – Tamás concludes.

Gábor G. Fodor, director of the pro-government Századvég think tank, finds it unlikely that voters will find such cooperation between usually quarrelsome intellectuals attractive. The opposition parties, especially LMP, are too divided over cooperation with anyone from the former Socialist governments, he writes in his blog. In addition the demands voiced by the Solidarity trade union are incompatible with Bajnai’s restrictive economic policies. Finally, Hungarians are unlikely to forget, he suggests, that a demonstration with Bajnai would prefigure another „Bajnaigyurcsánykóka”-government. (Gyurcsány was the Socialist Prime Minister preceding Bajnai, while Kóka was former Minister of the Economy and chairman of the now defunct Free Democrats. All three accumulated considerable personal wealth before entering politics.)

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