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The tobacco shop scandal and the election game

May 4th, 2013

An independent analyst writes that until the tobacco shop scandal emerged, Fidesz could set the political agenda. But as recent events have shown, it cannot feel safe. This is the kind of issue which can turn many voters against them, even a few days before the elections.

Gábor Török writes in his blog that until just a few days ago, Fidesz was undisturbed in setting the political agenda, first with the cap on utility costs (see BudaPost March 25) and then with the charges against former counter-espionage chief Sándor Laborc (who apparently requested a well-known figure in the criminal underworld to provide compromising data about right-wing politicians – see BudaPost, April 25). That has changed with the tobacco concession case (see BudaPost, April 29). This is exactly the kind of issue, he writes, that can have an immediate impact on voters’ preferences – just as lower utility tariffs plainly did. He finds it somewhat amusing that the opposition played no role whatsoever in the scandal; it was the media which uncovered suspicious cases of political influence around the tender. The same goes for a Fidesz MP who half beat his partner to death, then tried to explain that she had tripped over their blind dog. (The MP was forced to leave the Fidesz parliamentary group.) Such stories catch the voters attention far more than a complex (and indeed serious) issue, like the case of the security services colluding with a top criminal, Török remarks.

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