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Bajnai’s new party loses an ally

February 28th, 2013

Left-wing commentators agree that Milla had good reasons not to join Gordon Bajnai’s new party, but their decision is yet another sign of how difficult it is for centre-left organizations and splinter parties to join forces.

Over the weekend Milla (or One Million for Press Freedom, which started as a Facebook group in 2010 and organized several demonstrations) announced that it will remain an NGO and will not join the party former PM Gordon Bajnai is organizing after the failed attempt to unite the opposition under the umbrella organization Together-2014. The Milla move is widely considered as a strategic shift, as they were the main force behind Together 2014. Their spokesmen said they intended to provide grass roots support for Bajnai’s party, but announced that a 7 member board would take over the leadership of their movement from Péter Juhász who has represented Milla so far.

In Népszabadság Ervin Tamás worries about the infighting underway among opposition groupings. The governing party has already put its election machinery into full gear. Opposition leaders are also on the campaign trail, giving speeches and publishing programmes – which would seem promising, he writes. But, in the meantime “they do not hesitate to weaken each other, thereby weakening themselves.” Tamás mentions the split in LMP (See BudaPost, January 28) and what he calls Milla’s ‘attack on Together 2014’ as the latest blows to opposition unity. He dismisses a suggestion by DK leader Ferenc Gyurcsány that preliminaries be held to choose a common candidate for the post of PM, as unfeasible in the present mood of mutual mistrust. “The opposition, in the end, may win the next elections for Viktor Orban,” Tamás warns.

In Magyar Narancs, Attila Ara-Kovács strikes a somewhat less pessimistic note. He admits that Milla made a logical choice, as they have always emphasized their civic roots. But beyond “the eighty or hundred thousand people” who appear at Milla demonstrations in Budapest, there are “the millions of undecided voters who do not really care where Milla stands, who will go wherever they hope they can beat the governing coalition at the elections.” Another risk for Bajnai is to team up with deserters from the LMP or other splinter parties – Hungarian political history shows that these groups usually weaken the political pack and end up forgotten, Ara-Kovács thinks.

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