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Further analyses on the Left’s defeat

April 28th, 2014

Right wing analysts assert that the era of the old left is over and young Socialists should start building a new Left without the current left-liberal forces. A liberal commentator on the other hand says Bajnai was not up to the task he undertook and made many strategic blunders.
In Demokrata (print edition) editor-in-chief András Bencsik claims “the calumny is proven wrong”, and Fidesz turns out to be the party of the poor and the downtrodden. He quoes HVG’s findings that Fidesz received an extra 10% in the 5 poorest counties at the elections while in the five richest counties it was a few percent below the national average of 45%. Jobbik, too, had stronger numbers in poor areas, while the Left, did better in richer districts. Bencsik believes cuts in utility tariffs, community work for the unemployed and the land leases were some of the popular measures appreciated by the average voter. As for the turn to the left in the dilapidated housing estates of Miskolc, Budapest and Szeged, he says “the reader should draw his own conclusions”. As one of the organizers of the ‘Peace Marches’ he says he has always felt that Fidesz has huge support among poor people who could hardly afford the ticket, yet took the bus to participate and create the new two thirds parliamentary majority.

Also in Demokrata, Péter Farkas Zárug portrays the election victory as the final turning point of a process: after twenty years “of left rule” from 1989 to 2009 (which, however included four years under a Fidesz-led government), voters took a definite right turn and the question for the Socialists is whether or not they gravitate towards the black hole that swallowed the Free Democrats and MDF. “Despite efforts by the young Socialist leaders” their strategy was defined by outsiders who foisted upon them an alliance that proved unfruitful, he says, as Gyurcsány’s DK and Bajnai’s Together-2014 were both bound to fail. This failure goes beyond the lost election, Zárug concludes, it is a sign that “solidarity within the post-Kádár continuum” has disintegrated. The MSZP should have realized that their task is to build “a new left-wing universe”.
In Beszélő, the liberal monthly, once associated with the now defunct Free Democrats editor Zoltán Ádám excoriates Gordon Bajnai for what he calls his unpolitical attitude. Although he won a mandate in Parliament on the united left ballot, he announced that he would not take his seat. He could have argued that he would stay away from Parliament because he feels responsible for the clear failure of his undertaking. Instead, he argued that parliamentary politics would be unimportant in the next four years. In other words, he made an offer to the electorate and when his quest only yielded a few mandates, he declined to fight for his ideas as the leader of a tiny group of deputies, a move which shows contempt for his own electorate. Similarly, Bajnai’s name tops the list of his party’s candidates for the European Parliament, but he declared well in advance that he will not go to Brussels. A democrat, Ádám suggests, should never despise the importance of legislation. Bajnai hesitated too long to start with, Ádám believes, until he came forward with his original mistaken idea to form an umbrella organization for groups and parties too disparate to govern together if given the chance. Subsequently, he stumbled from rivalry with the MSZP into an alliance with them, but not with Ferenc Gyurcsány’s DK. Finally they all ran together into a crushing defeat. Then he declared that he would withdraw from Parliament. Political leadership requires tenacity, work, planning and responsibility. Being a nice guy is fine, but too little, Ádám concludes

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