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LMP splits over co-operation with Bajnai and Co.

January 28th, 2013

A leading LMP member suggests in a right wing paper that other political forces are at work behind the internal tensions in his party, while a centre-left commentator writes that the LMP’s plans to steer towards the political centre are understandable but unrealistic.

The small green party rejected an attempt by former floor leader Benedek Jávor’s group to reverse earlier strategic decisions and opt for co-operation with the left-wing opposition,  in order to vote Fidesz out of office in the 2014 elections. In November, a rift emerged in the party leadership when Jávor and vice-chairman Gergely Karácsony suggested the start of negotiations with Together-2014, but lost the vote by a small margin to the group led by András Schiffer, the present floor leader, who wants to keep equal distance from all other parties and members of ’the old political elite’. (See BudaPost November 20, 2012). The outvoted party leaders this weekend submitted their proposal to a new vote. When their motion was rejected, they announced that they are leaving the LMP, and will set up a new left-wing green party.

In an interview with Magyar Nemzet, Gábor Vágó, a supporter of András Schiffer’s election strategy, says other parties would profit from a final breakup of the party. He calls for more humility on the part of party leaders who oppose the decision of the congress, explaining that the party should not change direction every other month. Vágó accuses the Jávor-Karácsony group of slippery tactics and blackmail, and suggests they might be lured by potential political positions, as a reward for standing beside Gordon Bajnai, the most prominent figure of Together-2014, and Prime Minister of Hungary from 2009 to 2010. ’Bajnai cannot simply present himself as a political messiah’ – he says – and a political change cannot be negotiated as a pact between the present political elites, ’without convincing people in the street’ and ’more participation by ordinary citizens.’ Asked whether he expects the LMP to win the elections, Vágó replies ’there might be positive scenarios but one should be aware of realities.’  He does not think, on the other hand, that the Jávor-scenario, according to which the LMP would cooperate with the current opposition parties on the left, but remain in opposition in the next parliament could work. Summing up the main message of the Schiffer group, he says LMP’s ’mission is to show there is an alternative to the feudal-nationalistic right and the neoliberal left,’ even if these efforts only yield results in the long term.

Minimumplusz, the unofficial news portal of Milla (a civic movement that forms the core of Together-2014 with Gordon Bajnai’s think tank and the new trade union Solidarity) runs an editorial starting with the sentence: ’András Schiffer is right’ – then goes on to prove that he is wrong. In the long term, the only chance to drag the country out from beneath ’the rubble of ideologies and social-economic crap,’ is to bury all ’off-shoots of the successor party’ (MSZP, and DK), the author believes, together with Fidesz, whom he accuses of ‘messianic idiotism’ and ‘active collaboration with reform-Nazis.’ Yet the question for the LMP now is not a long-term problem, the author argues. It is rather a choice of whether or not to go down the drain by keeping Fidesz in power in 2014. If Hungarian politics consisted of two equally powerful political blocks who jointly plunder the state’s coffers, as used to be the case in Italy, people might look to a new, third formation to get rid of their old elites. However, Minimumplusz believes, Fidesz is about to completely dominate the Hungarian economy, which makes it necessary for the LMP to cooperate with ’the kind of post-Socialists one might not invite for dinner.’ Together-2014 might also prove fatal for the LMP, the author admits, with disappointed voters turning away from the party. LMP faces the same script that eliminated the Christian Democrats (who now run for elected posts on FIDESZ tickets) and the SZDSZ (the liberal party that joined the MSZP in two government coalitions, but did not make it into parliament in 2010). Both are unsavoury alternatives, Minimumplusz admits, but the LMP has no other choice – it has long ceased to be able to make its own choices in the new political environment.

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