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Mesterházy’s fall

May 31st, 2014

A left-wing analyst appreciates Attila Mesterházy’s decision to step down both as Socialist party leader and as  faction leader in Parliament. He writes with disdain about one of Mesterházy’s former supporters who “stabbed him in the back”.

In Népszabadság, Ákos Tóth was surprised by Mesterhézy’s resignation after the Chairman of the Socialist Party initially only offered the collective resignation of the party presidium, rather than acknowledging his personal responsibility for the MSZP’s two electoral defeats this Spring. Mesterházy took that decision after he was betrayed by some of his loyalists, including Csaba Horváth, whom he always supported in his quest for the post of Mayor of Budapest. (Horváth admitted on Thursday that after losing in Budapest to the two rival left-wing parties, the MSZP was no longer in a position to nominate the Left’s candidate for Mayor this Autumn.) Horváth “stabbed Mesterházy in the back”, in order to guarantee his own political survival – “for which we wish him well”, Tóth writes bitterly. Nevertheless, he thinks Mesterházy could have opted to keep his post as parliamentary group leader and wait for an opportunity to re-conquer the party leadership. But he realised that he had to resign in the Party’s best interest –  an honourable gesture, Tóth suggests. The new leadership will now have a tough job ahead in the municipal elections in October, where they will have to co-operate with their two left-wing rivals in order to win some city mayor positions. They must also find a way to win back the support of left-wing intellectuals who have deserted them because the MSZP was too busy building its own internal power structures rather than following left-wing ideals. “Back to square one”, Tóth concludes, adding that the choice of the leading staff, “as shown by Csaba Horváth’s case, is by no means a negligible factor.”

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