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More about the Veszprém by-election

February 25th, 2015

Commentators agree that the anti-government candidate won the vacant Veszprém seat in Parliament because he is seen as an outsider who does not belong to either the government or the opposition. Thus his victory is a harbinger of a new phase of the game where government candidates can be beaten but the opposition is not a credible challenger.

On HVG online, Árpád W. Tóta notes that Mr Zoltán Kész, the winner of the by-election, who deprived Fidesz of its two thirds majority in Parliament, is a libertarian market fundamentalist, but voters obviously chose him for reasons other than his world outlook or political platform. They simply chose the anti-Fidesz candidate who seemed to have a fair chance of winning. For the same reason, far right Jobbik candidates have won two local council elections recently.

On Mandiner, Gábor Bencsik describes Zoltán Kész as a confused man who is ostensibly not a party militant, and this is precisely why he was voted into Parliament. The problem is that democracy does not work without parties. They are indispensable unless we want either chaos or dictatorship. However, Bencsik warns, “something has gone wrong with Fidesz. What it is, is the conundrum to be urgently solved.”

In the same webmagazine, Ákos Gergely Balogh wonders what conclusions Fidesz is to draw from the fact that its formerly so effective spin seems not to work any longer. On the other hand, by supporting a radical libertarian candidate, the Left has produced another symptom of its deep crisis.

On Válasz.hu, István Dévényi predicts that neither of the two sides will learn the lesson of the Veszprém by-election. The Left will lure itself into believing that it was its victory, while the government side will find the culprits who allegedly botched Veszprém. “The only lesson is that nothing will change – for some time”, he writes.

In an unusually critical peace on his blog in Magyar Nemzet, pro-government ‘peace march’ organiser Tamás Fritz cautions the government against treating its electorate like sheep who can be suddenly required to support hasty measures and a rapprochement with Putin’s Russia. “Right-wing voters cannot be diverted from value based politics”, the pro-government political scientist warns.

In the second Magyar Nemzet editorial on the Veszprém by-election within two days, Zsuzsanna Körmendy calls on the government to stop improvising, as in the case of the internet tax (withdrawn before it was introduced), the detailed documentation teachers must submit about their performance, or the ban on retail trade on Sundays (in effect from March 15). She says instead of spin doctors, leaders should listen to experts. “People have had enough of Bengal fire; they would like to warm themselves at last”.


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