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Further reactions to LMP’s decision

November 24th, 2012

A pro-government daily writes that it was a question of principle for the LMP to reject Gordon Bajnai’s invitation to join his Together-2014 electoral alliance, even though it might lead to the demise of the party. A centrist-liberal analyst says LMP made the right decision, as they may attract centre-right voters for whom Together-2014 is tainted, or form the seed of a new centre if a future Together-2014 based government were to fail.

LMP, the small opposition green party decided at its congress, with a small margin of votes, to reject an invitation from Together-2014 for negotiations to join the alliance. Together-2014 is an electoral alliance of diverse groups, one of which is headed by former prime minister Gordon Bajnai. Mr Bajnai is seen by many as a plausible prime ministerial candidate. (See BudaPost, November 20)

Magyar Nemzet’s editorial, by Ferenc Kis, asks “how long can the LMP remain different?” (The party’s name means Politics Can Be Different). Kis thinks it has been “the question of questions” for Hungarian parties whether they are willing to support an MSZP government to „prevent the dangerous right from returning to power.” The Free Democrats (SZDSZ) in 1994 vowed never to enter a coalition with MSZP – and they did. Thus LMP’s peaceful existence was fated to come to an end, whichever option they chose. The political realities, he adds, make it highly unlikely that the LMP could block Gordon Bajnai’s candidacy for the premiership. But even if the LMP proves able to resist “the pressure from the left-liberal media,” and decides to stand alone in 2014, the party will probably split and the LMP may not get enough votes to send MPs to parliament. Yet, he concludes, the crisis will show “how far they can be different”.

On hvg.hu, Zoltán Ádám, editor-in-chief of the liberal periodical Beszélő believes that the LMP made the right decision. Not that he himself agrees with any of the main principles of the party – „anticapitalism, anticommunism, green-welfare policies and anti-globalism. He suggests, however,  that what is at stake is a new Hungarian political centrum. No one actually knows what Together-2014 stands for but what is certain is that it sets out to reach undecided, centrist voters, an ambition Ádám endorses. It is no exaggeration to say that Orbán’s electoral success or defeat depends on how well Together-2014 do at the elections. However, he goes on, it seems as if the umbrella organization entertained the idea of integrating all anti-Fidesz political parties into one overarching party. But how could the LMP form a coalition with an organization which relies on Gordon Bajnai, the former Prime Minister, as its most attractive politician? The LMP can still collect votes from the right, whereas Together-2014, with Bajnai as its leader, has no chances there. The main task, Ádám opines, is to “push the political centre back into its place.” If LMP were to join Together-2014 “we would be back in the pre-2010 situation,” with two opposing political blocks. A Together-2014-based coalition, if it manages to win the next elections, will face serious economic difficulties and social tensions that will eventually lead to its demise – as well as the demise of democracy in Hungary. If LMP does not join, it could be an anchor for a new centre around which supporters of liberal democracy may coalesce.

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