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Competition sharpens on the Left

May 22nd, 2017

Commentators across the political spectrum criticize the Left for trying to outbid the government with populist promises and by levelling unsubstantiated allegations against PM Orbán.

On Thursday, the leaders of the Momentum party entered the offices of Origo (a pro-government online media outlet) and questioned one of the journalists whom they accused of spreading falsifications and lies about them. In a press release, the Momentum leadership said that propaganda outlets like Origo should not be handled as media outlets and their employees are not journalists.

This has been the worst blitz Momentum has ever made, Gábor Miklósi comments on Index. The liberal pundit finds it highly counterproductive that the Momentum leaders violated the law by entering the private property of Origo without authorization. Miklósi thinks that the whole stunt is extremely awkward, even if Origo is indeed an uncritical and biased propaganda mouthpiece of the government.

Heti Világgazdaság’s Dávid Dercsényi and András Mizsur find Momentum’s action irresponsible. The government as well as pro-government pseudo-NGOs and media outlets will use Momentum’s stunt to claim that the opposition does not respect the rule of law and wants to silence its critics. If they want to govern, they need to do better than that, Dercsényi and Mizsur conclude.

MSZP leader László Botka announced that he would not put on his party list of candidates for the 2018 Parliamentary election those Socialist politicians who were responsible for Fidesz landslide victory in 2010. He mentioned no names. In a separate statement, Mr Botka promised that his party would reintroduce the 13th month pension if elected in 2018.

In the liberal Nyugati Fény blog, centrist pundit Róbert Puzsér lambasts Mr Botka for the 13th month pension offer. Puzsér thinks that the MSZP pledge is no less demagogic than the offers made by the governing party, as according to Puzsér, Hungary cannot afford such expenses. In conclusion, Puzsér thinks that the Socialist leader is unfit to govern Hungary.

Magyar Narancs in a lead editorial also suggests that Mr Botka’s pledge of a 13th month pension is irresponsible. The left-wing liberal weekly also thinks that Mr Botka has started a risky enterprise by trying to marginalize other Socialists politicians. If he fails, the MSZP will lose even more voters and become a minor party rather than the main left-wing force.

The opposition parties have launched a populist bidding competition, Gergely Kiss in Magyar Idők comments on Mr Botka’s 13th month pension promise. The pro-government pundit finds it peculiar that Mr Botka, who in 2009 voted for the cancellation of the 13th month pension. now wants to reintroduce it. Kiss writes that since the election of the Orbán government, pensions have increased by 23 per cent, which practically means that Fidesz has already more than reintroduced the 13th month pension taken away by the previous Socialist-Liberal government.

Magyar Hírlap’s Dániel Kacsoh likens Mr Botka’s plan to veto the nomination of certain MSZP politicians to the purges in the Communist Party. The pro-government commentator in a sarcastic aside wonders if Mr Botka will also veto his own nomination, adding that if the MSZP leader is serious about sidelining leading Socialists, there will be no one left to run. Kacsoh contends that Mr Botka’s leadership is a far cry from the democratic principles the Left likes to advocate when criticizing Fidesz.

In an interview with ATV, former PM Gyurcsány repeated his earlier allegation that PM Orbán had a secret bank account (see BudaPost April 29). He has not presented any factual evidence, however. Mr Gyurcsány informed the chairman of Parliament’s national security committee in private about the background to his allegations.

444.hu’s Gergő Plankó labels Mr Gyurcsány’s allegations as a mere conspiracy theory stunt. Without presenting any factual evidence, Mr Gyurcsány’s accusations are only jokes, the liberal blogger contends. Plankó fears that such unsubstantiated allegations will weaken the credibility of real investigative journalism. After such allegations, the government will dismiss even fact-based accusations as mere fabrication.

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