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A gloomy left-wing electoral analysis

March 5th, 2014

A prestigious left-wing commentator believes the electoral law forces the Socialists and their allies to wage an uphill struggle, but blames them for underperforming in the campaign.

In Népszabadság, Ervin Tamás agrees with Princeton professor Kim Lane Scheppele, a staunch critic of the constitutional changes passed by the Hungarian government since 2010, who in a guest analysis on Paul Krugman’s New York Times blog wrote that the law practically guarantees Fidesz’s victory.

The article was published on Galamus in Hungarian, one day before the original was posted on the New York Times website, which provoked a sarcastic commentary by Deputy State Secterary Ferec Kumin followed by a rebuttal by Galamus editor Zsófia Mihancsik who said she had received the text of a series of five analyses by Kim Lane Scheppele in advance, had them translated and posted the first one by mistake one day ahead of schedule. In an angry editorial in Magyar Hírlap István Stefka says the case is further proof that western criticism of the Hungarian government often originates from Hungary.

Ervin Tamás remarks that the new electoral system could backfire, if the opposition were to establish a substantial lead over the governing parties – in that case the elections would result in a crushing left-wing victory. Népszabadság’s commentator thinks the opposition leaders themselves are also at fault if that is not very likely.  „One (Socialist leader Attila Mesterházy) goes to America, the other (Gordon Bajnai) goes skiing, the third one (Ferenc Gyurcsány) utters blunderbuss statements.” Tamás also thinks the left-wing leaders are unable to turn public discourse around in their own favour or to send a palpable message to the public. He finds it difficult to complain about the „anomalies” of the electoral system, while at the same time engouraging their own people to believe that they can win.

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