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2016: A bitter year for the Left

January 2nd, 2017

In their end of the year opinion pieces, left-wing columnists paint a sad picture of the state of the world and Hungary within it.

2016 has been the year of increasing hopelessness, Gáspár Miklós Tamás contends in Heti Világgazdaság. The Marxist philosopher characterises the year 2016 as one marked by terrorist violence, wars, climate change and growing intolerance. Tamás interprets the Brexit referendum, the growing popularity of anti-EU parties and the election of Donald Trump as harbingers of the fall of the current global order, and likens the current situation to the late 1930s and the rise of Fascism that soon led to a global war.

In Kettős Mérce, Balázs Böcskei describes 2016 as a year of “post-ideological populism”. The left-wing analyst thinks that public life is increasingly dominated by slickly-delivered “pseudo-politics”, in which all facts lose their importance. In the new political landscape, traditional ideological vocabularies as well as laws of political action which have long been taken for granted, are hollowing out. In Hungary, he concludes, the key political development of the year is the government’s increasing domination of the media – and the public sphere.

For Népszava’s Péter Németh, the biggest puzzle of the past year has been party preferences in Hungary. The left-wing pundit finds it intriguing that the popularity of Fidesz has remained strong despite what Németh sees as widespread corruption and poor governance. He dismisses the widespread view that ascribes the governing party’s prolonged popularity to the immigration crisis. Németh suspects that Fidesz leads in the polls because of the opposition parties’ inability to connect with voters and offer credible alternatives to the governing party’s vision.

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