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Fidesz dominates local elections

October 14th, 2014

Commenting on the results of the municipal elections, the leading left-wing daily calls for a complete overhaul of the Left in order to stop the emergence of what it calls a totalitarian one-party system. The leading pro-government daily points out that the Left managed to increase its support slightly within the new electoral system which it often called illegitimate and biased.

At the municipal elections on Sunday, Fidesz secured a majority in each of the county assemblies, while far-right Jobbik came in second in most of the 19 counties. The MSZP maintained its lead on the Left. In Budapest, incumbent Fidesz mayor István Tarlós won 49 per cent of the votes, while libertarian conservative Lajos Bokros supported by the Left came in second with 36 per cent.

If the Left fails to reinvent itself, there will be no chance for democracy, Népszabadság comments in a front page editorial. The leading left-wing daily points out that the Left’s third consecutive defeat in a single year is the result of the new electoral rules favouring Fidesz as well as the intra-Left war for leadership. Népszabadság suggests that in the capital, the Left could have won if they could find a candidate who truly represents left-wing liberal values instead of the neoliberal Lajos Bokros (see BudaPost October 3). Although Jobbik came in second, the far-right party has not significantly increased its support and it cannot thus be considered as Fidesz’s challenger, Népszabadság notes. If the Left cannot connect to its base and increase its support, democracy will hollow out, the left-wing daily fears, adding that the a one-party system equals totalitarian rule.

In Magyar Nemzet, Szabolcs Szerető contends that the Left is at a crossroads. The pro-government columnist points out that although Fidesz received less votes than four years ago and the Left will have slightly more seats in county assemblies and somewhat more mayors, the Left still has no real strongholds to launch its complete revamping. The main question for the Left now is whether it wants to increase its support through claiming the illegitimacy of the constitutional system set up by Fidesz which would involve further radicalization and exit, or rather through conventional political mobilization without challenging the legitimacy of the current rules. Szerető believes that the minor successes of the Left in the municipal election show that it could widen its base even if within the current system. In conclusion, Szerető predicts that passionate political disputes will not end soon, since after the end of election year the government will use its power to introduce large-scale structural reforms (see BudaPost September 27).

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