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Dunaújváros election makes waves in national politics

June 8th, 2016

The national media continue to analyse how a minor local election that served as a testing ground for parties could be a game changer for the whole left in Hungary.

The municipal by-election in the 4th precinct in Dunaújváros resulted in a debacle of catastrophic proportions for the MSZP, and has in a symbolic sense put an end to the era of József Tóbiás’s leadership of the party, Péter Pető writes in pszabadság. It also proved a big success for the DK and Ferenc Gyurcsány, and has shown the challenges the Hungarian left is facing, the author suggests in the left-liberal paper’s op-ed piece.

A minor local election held in Dunaújváros on Sunday became a testing ground for political parties ahead of the 2018 parliamentary elections which prompted them to invest huge energies to win a single seat on the local council. (See BudaPost June 7)The election was won by the Fidesz candidate, while campaigning turned into open rivalry between two left-wing opposition parties, the MSZP and DK.

All this could happen, Pető warns, because political parties raised their bets so high in an insignificant precinct election where conditions cried for an opposition victory. The Fidesz municipal councillor resigned because he was charged with murder, while a flawed street-lighting project throws the city into darkness each evening. If read positively, what happened sends a strong message to left-wing parties about their options, he suggests. On the other hand, the author warns, there is a negative interpretation as well, one that suggests that the defeat indicates how weak the opposition is.


This small municipal precinct has given everyone what they longed for, except the MSZP, László Néző contends  Magyar Idők; the Socialist Party, he writes, got what it deserved. Néző suggests that the leadership of the party became so perplexed after the Dunaújváros election that they completely forgot what they promised at their congress last November about ‘opening the gates’ before local communities and interests. Now, all of a sudden, József Tóbiás holds the local chapter accountable for the blunder, Magyar Idők notes, adding that reversals like this are typical of the Socialist Party.

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