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A new Socialist-liberal coalition in the making

April 12th, 2013

A pro-government daily predicts that parties on the left will form some kind of coalition, despite the bitter jockeying for position between them, but whatever shape this coalition takes, it will suffer from the lack of credibility that still haunts the MSZP after its previous terms in government, in alliance with Liberals.

In Magyar Nemzet, Szabolcs Szerető remarks that although the two main leaders of the left-wing opposition are fighting for the future leadership of the coalition they will have to set up before next year’s general election, the rules of these “primaries” are not at all clear. Nobody knows how PM Orbán’s challenger will be chosen. A decision and a bigger show of unity are being urged by left-liberal intellectuals, the same class that brought about a coalition between the Socialists and the originally anti-communist Free Democrats two decades ago. Their coalition ended in a complete disaster in 2010, he writes, when the Free Democrats were annihilated by the voters, while the Socialists lost their status as the automatic alternative to the governing right wing. Now MSZP chairman Attila Mesterházy rightly claims that his is the only party commanding an infrastructure capable of waging an electoral campaign. On the other hand, Gordon Bajnai’s Together-2014 is right to warn that the Socialists could never win the elections on their own. A third actor, former PM Ferenc Gyurcsány and his Democratic Coalition is still in a position to blackmail his former party, the MSZP, Szerető contends, but as a result of his long but unsuccessful term in office, he has become a liability for the left. On the other hand, the civic movement that created Together-2014 is winding down. Their recent March demonstration had only one strong message, that of philosopher Gáspár Miklós Tamás who called for a boycott of the elections. The author predicts that despite the bickering, some kind of coalition will be formed, although he finds it difficult to imagine how it could be free from the credibility deficit that brought down two MSZP-SZDSZ coalitions.

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