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MSZP leaders still stand behind Botka

October 1st, 2017

Commentators try to make sense of the disarray in the Socialist party leadership, and reach mutually exclusive conclusions from the events of the past few days.

Earlier this week MSZP chairman Gyula Molnár suggested that his party was dropping its opposition to the presence of former PM Ferenc Gyurcsány on a hypothetical joint opposition electoral list. As the MSZP candidate for Prime Minister, László Botka has always ruled out this possibility, Molnár’s suggestion was interpreted widely as an attack on Botka. In the latest twist in the tale, Gyula Molnár has condemned the plots to oust Botka. In a short statement signed with National MSZP Board chairman István Hiller and parliamentary floor leader Bertalan Tóth, Molnár attacked an initiative by Péter Tarjányi, the founder of Zoom, a new current affairs internet site and of a political group called Hungarian Progressive Movement, to find a new joint opposition candidate for PM. According to the statement, such a move would only serve the interests of Fidesz.

On his Facebook blog, political analyst Gábor Török thinks an initiative must be underway to weaken the MSZP and lift the LMP. He is sceptical about the latest Medián poll which rates LMP at 7 per cent among the electorate, calling it a ‘spectacular’ result. He lists two other factors which indicate that an effort is underway to shift attention and support from the MSZP towards LMP. Firstly, the appearance of former MSZP spin doctor Ron Werber as the LMP’s campaign guru and ex MSZP MP Márta Demeter’s presence in the LMP parliamentary group. And secondly, the revelation by Tamás Lattman, a professor of international law, that this time last year opposition parties had already agreed to put him forward as their joint candidate for PM, when Mr Botka unexpectedly imposed his own candidacy on the MSZP. Tarjányi ridicules the Socialist Party, while Lattman says that Bernadett Szél, the LMP candidate for PM, is fit to lead the whole opposition. What is underway, Török writes, is an attempt to ‘finish off the MSZP and lift LMP. Not a hopeless endeavour.’

On Pesti Srácok, on the other hand, Gyula T. Máté interprets what happened as Ferenc Gyurcsány subduing the MSZP once again. He describes a monologue by an imaginary Hungarian worker who is disgusted by the infighting within the Left and draws the conclusion that left-wing politicians do not even try to win next year’s elections. Their actual goal is to secure parliamentary seats for themselves. And since the number of mandates available to them will be limited, infighting is inevitable.


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