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Former Socialist PM calls for grand anti-Orbán coalition

December 31st, 2016

A left-wing and a pro-government pundit both question the desirability and feasibility of former Socialist Prime Minister Péter Medgyessy’s call for a grand coalition of left-wing parties and Jobbik.

In an interview on ATV, former Socialist PM Péter Medgyessy said that only a broad coalition of opposition parties that includes the MSZP, Democratic Coalition as well as the Jobbik party would have the chance to defeat Fidesz at the 2018 Parliamentary election. Jobbik politicians have ruled out an electoral alliance with the Left, and, according to Magyar Idők, the MSZP also considers such a coalition undesirable. In the past month, the idea of a grand anti-Fidesz coalition has been raised on several occasions by liberal pundits (see BudaPost November 28, November 5 and October 18).

Népszava editor-in-chief Péter Németh finds Péter Medgyessy’s proposal surprising. The left-wing commentator agrees with the former Socialist PM that in order to stop Hungary backsliding into a “personality cult and full-fledged dictatorship”, Fidesz needs to be defeated. Nonetheless, Németh is hesitant to support the idea of a grand anti-Fidesz coalition that includes the far-right Jobbik party, despite the fact that Jobbik leader Gábor Vona has tried to purge his party of more radical members. Németh suggests that such a broad coalition should only be endorsed if the alternative would be an extreme and imminent full blown crisis.

Magyar Idők’s Ferenc Kis thinks that former PM Medgyessy’s suggestion is a Machiavellian idea motivated only by hunger for power. The pro-government columnist finds it peculiar that a growing number of left-wing and liberal politicians and intellectuals call on the Left to cooperate with the far-right Jobbik – a party that they have called racist and extremist until now. In any case, Kis suggests, any cooperation of the Left with Jobbik could only be ephemeral, as the Left could not credibly govern with such a party.

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