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New Parliament sworn in

May 8th, 2014

As the new Parliament meets for the first time after the April election, commentators wonder if the years ahead might bring reconciliation between left and right.

After the landslide victory of Fidesz at the April election, the opposition cannot question the legitimacy of the new legal system, Szabolcs Szerető declares in Magyar Nemzet. The left-wing parties tried to increase their popularity by rejecting the overhaul of the constitutional system by the Orbán government after 2010, but that strategy has failed, Szerető claims. The Left is still stuck to symbolic issues, he suggests. He mentions as an example the way left-wing parties were outraged by Jobbik’s “provocation” to nominate a Tamás Sneider, a former skinhead leader as Deputy Speaker of Parliament. As to the tasks facing the new government, he argues that PM Orbán will now have to prove that Hungary can be more successful than before the overhaul of the constitutional system, which will require a government willingness to compromise. Szerető is, however, somewhat skeptical about whether the new Parliament will be able to broker a consensus on major issues, bearing in mind what he regards as the staunch ideological stance of the left-wing opposition parties.

In Népszabadság, Ákos Tóth finds it outrageous and abhorrent that a former leader of a skinhead group has been elected to a top public office. The left-wing commentator recalls that Jobbik MP Tamás Sneider was found guilty of assault for beating up a Roma person in Eger two decades ago. Despite his past, Sneider’s nomination was supported by the vast majority of Fidesz MPs, Tóth notes.

Fidesz offered five out of the fifteen committees to be chaired by opposition politicians and proposed that two of the four deputy speakers should be delegated by them. This implied that the opposition parties should agree among themselves about the rest. The agreement on those posts was signed by all parties, but the left-wing opposition declined to vote for Sneider in the plenary session. Fidesz argued that it was not an arbiter of opposition agreements. Nevertheless, four prominent Fidesz MPs abstained from voting.

In Magyar Hírlap, Gyula T. Máté finds it ironic that the left was so irritated by Sneider’s nomination, given that a prominent politician of the MSZP had a similar past. Magyar Nemzet published a photo and later video footage from the early 1990s, when MSZP MP Zsolt Molnár, former chairman of the National Security Committee of Parliament participated in one of the first extreme right-wing demonstrations side by side with skinhead protesters, wearing a hood and chanting the same slogans. Molnár has, however, denied any past involvement with the skinhead movement.




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