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PM Orbán keeps fingers crossed for Merkel

September 23rd, 2017

A left-wing and a pro-government pundit are both certain that Chancellor Merkel will be returned to power by German voters on Sunday. They also agree that the rise of the AfD may have an important impact on the German political landscape.

In his regular biweekly radio interview on Friday morning, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said Mrs Merkel is by far the best possible choice for Chancellor in Germany as far as Hungary is concerned. Her rival, Social Democrat leader Martin Schulz has used coarse language against Hungary, he added.

In Népszava, Pál Tamás finds  huge differences between the political landscapes in Germany and Hungary. In Germany, all moderate parties promise to modernize the country, while in Hungary, both Right and Left focus on the past, Támás writes. In Hungary, he suggests, there is no clear line between moderate right and far-right ideology, while in Germany, both Left and Right try to isolate the AfD. In Germany, Tamás adds, mainstream parties are all centrist and avoid polarizing messages, as the middle classes reject the ‘verbal civil war’ which reigns in Hungary. Tamás thinks that there will be no big surprises at the election, but the political landscape will nonetheless be different after the AfD wins seats in the Bundestag. The rise of the AfD he attributes to the decision o the two mainstream parties not to politicize the issue of immigration. Tamás wonders if and how Chancellor Merkel can maintain her centrist image and the cordon sanitaire between the moderate Right and the far-right. 

German voters do not seem to be very excited about the Bundestag election, Sándor Faggyas writes in Magyar Hírlap. The pro-government commentator attributes the calm and moderate electoral campaign to what he regards as the mainstream parties’ inability to raise issues that voters consider really crucial. Most importantly, both Left and Right avoid the sensitive topic of immigration, and they in unison label as radical and xenophobic any politician that challenges Chancellor Merkel’s migration policy, Faggyas remarks. Another important element in what Faggyas regards as German political apathy is general distrust in mainstream media that, according to Faggyas, trumpet the two main parties’ consensual pro-migration ‘manipulative propaganda’. As long as Germany prospers, voters are unlikely to turn against Chancellor Merkel, ‘although an increasing number of everyday voters agree more with Viktor Orbán’s than with the Merkel-Schulz duo’s migration politics.’ Faggyas predicts that Chancellor Merkel will need to find coalition partners to govern, and the AfD, ‘the real alternative to the complacent and dumb German mainstream’ will come in third. For Hungary, he concludes, the best, but unlikely outcome would be if parties ‘that want to defend a European, Christian, and German Germany won.’

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