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Bajnai ante portas

November 12th, 2012

Left-wing pundits urge the Socialist Party to accept former PM Bajnai’s new political group as an equal ally. Mr Gyurcsány’s aide finds it unfair that “Together 2014” dissociates itself from the DK. A right-wing analyst argues that Bajnai represents a gloomy past, rather than a shining future.

The last left-wing Prime Minister set up his new formation “Together 2014” with two NGOs as an alliance to prepare for the elections scheduled for 2014 on October 23 (See BudaPost, October 25 and 26). Last week he issued a manifesto explaining why he thought the present government should be voted out of office, with 100 signatures below it – the right-wing press unanimously remarked that most of them used to be active supporters of the now defunct liberal SZDSZ party. Meanwhile, according to a survey by the Median polling agency Bajnai’s new alliance already appears more popular than the Socialist Party. Socialist party chairman Attila Mesterházy welcomed “the fact that ‘Together’ could appeal to voters who have been undecided so far.” Other leading party officials cautioned against just “providing socialist masses” to promote “liberal policies.”

In his weekly editorial, 168 Óra editor in chief Ákos Mester warns Socialist leaders that they can never win the next elections on their own. He finds it worrisome that the actors of a potential left-wing alliance mistrust each other so much, but believes that eventually they will realise that they are doomed to co-operate. The Socialists, however, must understand that there are originally right-wing voters who are disillusioned with government policies but “would rather get soaked by the rain than seek refuge under a Socialist umbrella.” Mester admits that building an alliance takes time, but believes that “time is running short.”

In his blog, Zsolt Gréczy, a former aide to Mr Ferenc Gyurcsány when he was Prime Minister (from 2004 to 2009), deems it absurd that “Together” begrudges accepting the Democratic Coalition as a partner in the alliance. Their problem is obviously DK leader Ferenc Gyurcsány, he remarks. “The same person who is also Fidesz’s main problem.” Gréczy reminds the opposition leaders that Mr Gyurcsány was the last man to defeat PM Orbán (in 2006). When he resigned (in 2009), Gréczy continues, the MSZP still had 1.5 million supporters. “Why that camp melted down to 1 million by 2010, nobody knows,” he notes in a clear hint at the possible responsibility of those who succeeded him in the Socialist Party (including the current chairman Attila Mesterházy) and possibly in Government (Gordon Bajnai, who succeeded him as Premier). Gréczy also complains that “the man who denounced him is welcome” – a reference to LMP founder András Schiffer who lodged a complaint with the prosecutor’s office against Gyurcsány in 2009 in connection with the planned casino project (See BudaPost, July 23). Gordon Bajnai, Géczy notes, was a colleague of 9 out of the 10 DK MPs as member of Mr Gyurcsány’s government. He ends his comment asking “how long will Viktor Orbán’s invisible hand continue to guide the opposition preparing to defeat him?”

In Magyar Hírlap, political scientist Tamás Fricz, one of the initiators of this year’s two pro-government “peace marches” thinks if Mr Bajnai were to win the next elections, Hungary would lose all the increased independence it has gained under PM Orbán. He describes the opposition leader as “a man of the post-communist past.” He made friends with Mr Gyurcsány within the Communist Youth League, then the two were colleagues in a counselling enterprise which specialized in the privatisation of public property. Fricz accuses them of taking part in the transfer of the wealth of the Communist Youth League and of the Trade Unions into the hands of former Communist insiders. After enumerating the government posts Bajnai was appointed to by Gyurcsány, including his nomination as Prime Minister, Fricz goes on to describe Bajnai as a “man delegated by global business and political circles.” His “Country and Progress Foundation” has been subsidised from the very start by the Center for American Progress, a Democratic Party think tank.

“With Gyurcsány behind him”, Fricz continues, “Bajnai would ruin all that the Orbán government has done to regain our national sovereignty.” Instead of strengthening democracy, as he claims, he would strengthen post-communist networks. “Rather than national sovereignty and the protection of national interests, his priority would be complete surrender to international power circles”.

Fricz ends his analysis on an apocalyptic note:” If Bajnai returns, just like (previous Socialist premiers) Gyula Horn, Péter Medgyessy and Ferenc Gyurcsány did, then we would lose everything.”

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