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Closing remarks on 2013

January 1st, 2014

In their traditional New Year columns, left and right-wing dailies alike agree that Fidesz is the probable winner of the next elections, but that prospect does not make them equally happy.

In Népszava, Noémi Benedek compares Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to a womanizer who offers a lady a drink at somebody else’s expense. In order to win over undecided voters, she explains, the Prime Minister made the banks pay for the rescue package for forex mortgage debtors, made the energy providers pay for utility tariff cuts and now it is the National Bank’s turn to subsidise cheap loans to civil servants. The man does not care about the potential harmful effects of that cocktail, Benedek concludes, as long as he can get what he wants from the lady – her vote.

In Magyar Hírlap, editor István Stefka finds the effects of that „cocktail” clearly beneficial: not since the régime change have we ever seen so much positive effort deployed, he claims, “despite all the hostility of the left-liberal opposition”. He likens the critics to those forces who contributed to Hungary’s past disasters by betraying their country, and accuses them of wishing Hungary to fail.

In Magyar Nemzet, András Kovács finds opinion polls unprecedentedly encouraging for the ruling right wing, and points out that no party has had such a comfortable lead in the polls a few months before the election for the past 25 years. He warns, however that Fidesz must not relax, as in both 1997 and 2001 the tide turned against the governing parties during the last few weeks of the campaign.

In Népszabadság, Ákos Tóth accuses the Prime Minister of “having trapped Hungary” with his successive utility tariff cuts. On the other hand, he accuses DK leader Ferenc Gyurcsány of having trapped the opposition through his frantic and divisive campaigning. His only hope is that Mr Orbán will trap himself with his electoral law forcing the opposition forces to unite.

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