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Opposition accuses PM of siding with Putin

March 7th, 2014

A former Socialist MEP calls on opposition parties to focus on their social and political messages in the campaign, rather than on raising fears about Russian expansionism. Such language does not suit them, he warns, and is also counterproductive.In Népszava, Iván Hegyi, a veteran journalist who was also a Socialist MP in the first democratically elected Parliament(1990-1994) and served five years as a Socialist member of the European Parliament (2004-2009), complains that in the run-up to the elections, political debate is focused on the wrong issues. He mentions as  an example the Őszöd speech saga (see e.g. BudaPost, February 25) and the secret bank account of a leading Socialist politician (See BudaPost, February 10). The latest issue of this kind is the accusation that with the new nuclear blocks to be built by Russia in Hungary and PM Orbán’s cautious attitude towards the Ukraine crisis, the government is exposing Hungary to Russian influence (see BudaPost, March 4). Instead, Hegyi argues, the opposition should centre its campaign on the plight of the poor, the declining birth rate and what he calls the erosion of democratic institutions. The Socialist Party, he continues, has always been measured and balanced on foreign policy issues and should not suddenly start joining the Putin-bashers over the complicated Ukraine issue. On top of it all, such a campaign is bound to backfire, for if it succeeds in raising fear of a potential Russian threat, the only side to profit will be the government. Crisis situations, in any case, tend to boost the popularity of the incumbent government, especially if the threat fails to materialise. If the Socialists have a problem with the planned nuclear power station and the envisaged loan to make it possible, they should blame the Prime Minister, not Putin, Hegyi concludes.

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