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A weekend of campaign rallies

April 1st, 2014

The rallies of the last weekend before the election are seen by commentators as shows of strength. While left-liberal minded observers think Fidesz is underestimating its opponent, a leading pro-government commentator finds the joint opposition rally pathetic and ridiculous.On Saturday pro-government supporters marched from Parliament to Heroes’ Square and were greeted by Viktor Orbán in an optimistic speech which analysts described as more conciliatory than usual. The next day, the opposition alliance held their own rally, addressed by all major left-wing political leaders, who called for a last ditch effort to oust Viktor Orbán.
In Népszava, János Dési claims the Sunday rally proves the opposition should not be underestimated, however hard the public media tries to diminish its significance. Although those who attend such rallies do not need to be persuaded, their sheer numbers give hope to those who wish to see Orbán go.

In one of the five commentaries Népszabadság devotes to the rally, László Rab thinks the government and pro-Fidesz opinion undervalue the opposition by refusing to participate in pre-election debates. If the opponent is so weak, the victory might not be so great either, he notes, and warns that the election will have some surprises in store for Fidesz.

In the same daily, Ervin Tamás states that whatever effect the weekend rallies might have, the last weeks of the campaign have favoured Jobbik and the LMP who can pick up protest votes from both sides. A Fidesz victory, on the other hand, will hardly bring the kind of appeasement some analysts expect. He thinks alleged election fraud, the high number of fake parties and other anomalies may harm the legitimacy of the future majority.

In Magyar Nemzet (print edition) Dávid Megyeri accuses the Socialists of having launched “an orgy of anxiety”, with the obvious objective of undermining the legitimacy of the election result. He wonders if the opposition leaders would complain of election fraud if they went on to win the election.
Magyar Nemzet also devotes a series of comments to the weekend rallies. Zsuzsanna Körmendy finds something both ridiculous and pathetic in the speeches of opposition leaders.  She thinks the weekend brought “a balanced Saturday and an anxious Sunday”, yet she warns the campaign ahead will be nasty.

Political analyst János Simon in an interview with the pro-government Lánchíd Rádió, as summarized by Magyar Nemzet, says that unlike the opposition leaders, PM Orbán refrained from insulting his opponents, while the opposition coalition is held together by one sentiment: hatred for Viktor Orbán.