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Socialist rally fails to attract crowds on Labour Day

May 3rd, 2016
Pro-government Magyar Idők rejoices, while left-wing Népszava worries about the dismal attendance at the Socialist rally in Budapest on Labour Day.

During the MSZP Labour Day rally in Városliget, the Budapest Municipal Park, there was a virtual no man’s land around the stage of the once big left-wing party, Magyar Idők claims in its editorial. The author, Dávid Megyeri, notes that the number of supporters attending the MSZP Mayday rally decreases every year, but this time reached an all-time low.
Even after the change in the political system, Labour Day political rallies remained a generally left wing spectacle in Hungary. They used to attract crowds even some years ago, especially the one traditionally held in Városliget, the mother of all such Mayday jamborees in Hungary for decades. People who are still nostalgic for János Kádár, the general secretary who led communist Hungary for over three decades, usually show up on this day in the popular Budapest public park in significant  numbers.
Megyeri asserts that the two Socialist speakers, MSZP party leader József Tóbiás and Ágnes Kunhalmi, head of the party’s Budapest chapter, failed to garner attention from the audience. Many of those participating, the pundit suspects, were not even sympathizers, but families just enjoying the warm spring day a distance away from the party’s stage. People must sense, Megyeri suggests, that those who keep accusing the government of billion forint scams while corruption used to be an everyday practice during their tenure in government have lost all credibility.
Népszava also struggles to drum up any enthusiasm for Sunday’s rally in Városliget. Quoting a line from József Tóbiás’s speech, editor Péter Németh explores the politician’s call for the party ‘to make an alliance with society’. However, Németh remarks, it is not clear what this alliance means, whom it strives to involve and how these people could be turned against Fidesz when so many are not willing to see through the ‘false government rhetoric’ and fail to realize the ‘ongoing embezzlement’ of public funds. Németh also suggests this situation is the direct result of the MSZP letting ’90 percent of the media’ fall under Fidesz control. (He is probably lumping markedly government-critical but formerly pro-government outlets like HirTV, Magyar Nemzet, and Heti Válasz in that category.)

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