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Law and order candidate divides the Left

July 9th, 2014

Left-wing commentators are deeply divided about the candidacy of Albert Pásztor for the mayoral seat of Miskolc. Some condemn what they see as the arrogance of Budapest-based intellectuals for trying to meddle in the internal affairs of the city, while others deem the nomination of a law and order candidate by the Left unacceptable.

Rather than Pásztor’s anti-Roma stance, it was the unprincipled electioneering of the Democratic Coalition which made István Hell, journalist and human rights activist decide to leave Ferenc Gyurcsány’s party, as he explains in his resignation message published on HVG.hu. Hell’s is but one episode in a long chain of criticism of the decision of the MSZP and DK to support the former police chief of Miskolc (see BudaPost, July 5th).

András Jámbor of the New Left blog, Kettős Mérce thinks efforts by the left-wing to beat the Right at its own game by nominating Pásztor are doomed to failure, because FIDESZ and Jobbik are better and more authentic in law-and-order politics. The blogger denounces the candidate’s racist comments from 2009 and his current awkward attempts to gloss over them as irresponsible. Jámbor warns that raising a problematic issue such as the rate of criminality among the Roma is not a virtue in itself. Rather, it amounts to simply dangerous and irresponsible politicking, if not accompanied by proper explanations and suggestions.

By supporting a former policeman, the Socialists and the DK are suggesting that governing an entire community is simply an issue of order and discipline, as well as that a certain minority within this community is to be treated with exceptional rigour, writes Márton Gergely in Népszabadság. He is of the opinion that a candidate experienced in command and discipline, rather than discussion and co-operation, discredits the democratic commitment of the opposition parties.

“If I lived in Miskolc, I would vote for Pásztor”, confesses Gyula Hegyi in Népszava. A controversial statement made five years ago, he argues, must not discredit an entire career in the service of the community. Nonetheless, he deplores what he regards as the tendency of Budapest-based politicians and intellectuals to decide what the people of Miskolc should or should not do. Declaring a person and an entire city racist, on the basis of a single sentence, is a bigger crime than uttering that sentence in the first place, the left-wing pundit maintains.



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