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Rift deepens on the left

October 28th, 2013

Commentators agree that Mr. Gyurcsány’s harsh criticism of his potential left-wing allies weakens the left and its chances of defeating Fidesz at the 2014 election.

At the joint opposition demonstration on October 23, Ferenc Gyurcsány and former SZDSZ politicians called for the inclusion of Mr. Gyurcsány’s Democratic Coalition in the left-wing electoral alliance (see BudaPost October 25). The Socialists and Gordon Bajnai’s Together 2014 accuse Mr. Gyurcsány of ignoring a previous agreement that speakers would refrain from discussing the modalities of the alliance or criticizing each other. In a press release on Friday, the MSZP and Together 2014 said that after the incident they considered the negotiations on cooperation with Mr. Gyurcsány’s party closed for good.

In Magyar Nemzet, Ágnes Seszták likens former PM Gyurcsány to a man gone berserk, indiscriminately attacking everyone and smashing everything around him. The conservative columnist speculates that Mr. Gyurcsány set a trap for MSZP chairman Mesterházy and Together 2014 Bajnai by pressurising them into a joint mass rally. Seszták predicts that from now on, he will indiscriminately attack Mr. Mesterházy and Mr. Bajnai as much as PM Orbán. The reason is, she believes, that Mr. Gyurcsány would do anything he considers necessary to become Prime Minister one day.

The fragmented left cannot integrate left leaning voters, Ervin Tamás remarks in Népszabadság. The crowd at the October 23 opposition rally was desperately hoping for unity, but instead of a strong left-wing which could challenge Fidesz in unison, opposition leaders were too busy criticizing each other, the left-wing pundit remarks. He speculates that Mr. Gyurcsány has realized that his party does have a chance to cross the 5 per cent Parliamentary threshold alone (see BudaPost October 7), and thus deliberately chose to rule out cooperation with the other left-wing parties, in the hope of becoming the leader of the opposition after the 2014 election.

In the same daily, Kornélia Magyar, founder of the Progressive Institute contends that the October 23 rally amounts to a PR-catastrophe or even a “suicide” for the left-wing parties. The political analyst believes that it was a huge strategic mistake for the MSZP and Together 2014 to invite Mr. Gyurcsány to address the demonstration after not including his party in the left-wing anti-Orbán alliance. Mr. Gyurcsány stole the show, but his victory is ephemeral, Magyar continues. After what happened, Magyar rules out the integration of the Democratic Coalition into the left-wing electoral coalition. She speculates that the combined constituency of all left-wing parties is likely to decrease as a result of their dispute about leadership. After the nasty incident, left-leaning Hungarians have lost hope in a strong opposition alliance able to overcome internal rifts and disputes in order to defeat Fidesz, Magyar writes.

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