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President Áder announces election date

January 21st, 2014

The date of the election itself has become a campaign topic, with left-wing commentators suspecting that the President’s decision was prompted by political convenience rather than neutral rationality. 

On Saturday, President János Áder set the Parliamentary election for April 6, the earliest possible date. In a press release he said he wanted to prevent the campaign from becoming “unnecessarily long” and the new government to be formed as soon as possible, which would promote early access to EU funds.

Népszabadság in a front page editorial accuses President Áder of having followed party interest rather than practical considerations in setting the date. By selecting the earliest date, he played into Fidesz’s hands, since the new opposition coalition (see BudaPost January 17) will have less time to work out a program and get its message through to voters, the authors claim. The leading left-wing daily (echoing a proposal by the left-wing parties) suggests that the Parliamentary election should have been scheduled for the end of May, on the day when elections for the European Parliament will be held. That option, Népszabadság believes, would have guaranteed a higher turnout at the EP elections than the 36 per cent registered five years ago.

Writing in Népszava, Zoltán Simon suggests that President Áder wanted to help Fidesz by not scheduling the Parliamentary election for the day of the EP vote. The left-wing columnist points out that Fidesz politicians often highly critical of the EU could not possibly send anti-EU messages if the two elections were held on the same day.

Most voters will be relieved to hear that the electoral campaign will be brief, Péter Szentmihályi Szabó writes in Magyar Hírlap. He suspects that the left-wing opposition parties will run a very negative campaign rather than offering a credible alternative to the current government.

Magyar Nemzet‘s Ágnes Seszták also predicts that the left-wing campaign will be strictly limited to negative slogans. The only message the left will send will call for replacing the “diabolic” Orbán government by any means, the conservative commentator notes. In order to gain support, the left will not shy away from promising a complete overhaul in all spheres of life, Seszták predicts.

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