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PM draws up balance-sheet and outlines prospects to the House

February 5th, 2014

The leading left-wing daily suspects the campaign of the governing party will be dominated by the single issue of energy and utility tariff cuts. A pro-government commentator, on the other hand, finds it strange that MSZP leader Attila Mesterházy missed the opportunity to attend the session and outline a left-wing alternative to the current government in parliament.

In his opening speech at the last session pf Parliament before the elections, PM Orbán said that his government has been successful in reforming the country. As proof he mentioned statistics on growing employment, lower deficit, higher wages and a declining inflation rate. As for the future, PM Orbán said that he regarded as his main task to continue the utility tariff cuts and make Hungarian energy prices the lowest in the EU in order to boost the economy. He noted that the tariff cuts are likely to be challenged by the EU.

PM Orbán has announced an extremly simplistic campaign program, Népszabadság comments in a front page editorial. The leading left-wing daily contends that in the election campaign, Fidesz will have a single message: utility tariff cuts. This strategy is understandable, since the price cuts have increased Fidesz’ constituency, Népszabadság remarks. The daily continues by noting that the current low prices are unsustainable, and the losses of the energy providers will have to be compensated from public money. If the opposition parties win at the April election, they will have a hard time to “defuse the ticking time bomb” of the energy sector.

Magyar Nemzet‘s Zsuzsanna Körmendy finds it unusual that Attila Mesterházy, leader of the opposition did not attend the opening session and thus missed the opportunity to outline the program of the left in Parliament. Instead, MSZP head Mesterházy published a short opinion article in Népszava in which he criticized the Orbán government for what he regards as the weakening of democratic institutions. The pro-government columnist finds it peculiar that Mr. Mesterházy calls for more dialogue but at the same time fails to discuss his ideas and unveil a credible program in Parliament. In an aside, Körmendy asks whether the reason behind the MSZP’s choice of Mr. Mesterházy as candidate for the Premiership is that a defeat at the election can thus be blamed on him.

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