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A campaign-tainted Easter week-end

April 3rd, 2018

In their last pre-electoral weekend issues, the weeklies only see a slim chance for the divided opposition to defeat the incumbent government, but agree that the election will be decided in the individual constituencies where the fate of more than half the parliamentary seats is sealed.

In his Figyelő editorial, Tamás Lánczi believes that despite the huge advantage Fidesz enjoys in opinion polls, no electoral contest has been so fiercely fought since 2002. The enemies of Fidesz, he writes, are invisible but strong. At their behest ‘critical reports and even sanctions are issued from Brussels; articles are published in authoritative Western newspapers; and they spend hundreds of millions of Forints to pay provocateurs and address the public through faceless journalists and NGOs, which disguise their real intentions’, the author claims. Lánczi describes this conflict as an unequal struggle, because the Prime Minister stands in the open as a clear target, while his real adversaries remain hidden. He accuses the feuding and fragmented opposition of plotting chaos. In his concluding remarks he compares their unlikely victory to the position Hungary found herself in after the First World War, when chaos brought irresponsible people to power. That was why Hungary lost two thirds of its territory in the ensuing peace treaty, he believes and warns that the stakes are no lower a hundred years on.

In 168 óra, Péter N. Nagy muses whether Jobbik would choose to form a coalition government with the Left or with Fidesz if the latter were to lose the elections next Sunday. He admits that the formerly radical right-wing party is distancing itself from the governing forces but finds it difficult to imagine why, if compelled to find coalition partners, it should opt for the MSZP, rather than Fidesz. His main concern however is that the two right-wing parties combined are supported by over two thirds of decided voters. He sees a parallel with what is happening throughout Europe and South America, where the left is disintegrating and losing not just its strength but even the issues it used to fight for. He offers no solution but concludes that leftists have a tougher job ahead than at any time in the past decades.

Demokrata’s András Bencsik castigates the opposition for what he calls a bunch of irresponsible promises and threats in their electoral campaign. ‘We will sack, we will dismantle, we will imprison, we will confiscate, we will redistribute’, he paraphrases the electoral promises of the various opposition parties. Bencsik believes Jobbik is particularly active in threatening to persecute ‘mafiosi’ and confiscate their property. He mocks the mainstream opposition parties for failing to rally more supporters on March 15 than the Twin Tailed Dog Party, which pokes fun at the whole political system. Meanwhile, he writes, the government side doesn’t even put forward a programme for the elections. It makes no promises, but it obviously intends to continue the work so far. ‘Migrants are not going to be let in and the apparently moderate but unquestionable increase in wealth will continue’, Bencsik assures his readers. All in all, he believes that an opposition victory would be more dangerous for the security of the nation than the risk represented by migrants. He therefore thinks the government side should be more active in mobilising ‘well-intentioned and patriotic citizens’.

This will be the first election in modern Hungarian history, when instead of a contest between party front-runners, the decisive factor will be who wins in the individual constituencies, Gábor Borókai writes in Heti Válasz. This is because the opposition front-runners are simply no match for Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, he suggests. Despite Fidesz’s large lead in the opinion polls, with at least 40% of decided voters, the opposition could win if it ran united in the individual constituencies. That will be difficult however, because the voters of the individual opposition parties cannot be commandeered to support another party’s candidate. Especially when their leaders sharply criticise each other. The simple voters who would like to send the incumbent government packing, ‘will find it extremely difficult to find their way in this chaos’, Borókai complains. He also doubts if there are politicians who could be able to govern Hungary with such a heterogeneous parliamentary majority. And still, he hopes that in their wisdom, voters will be able to decide whether they are happy with the situation as it is or want to change it. He himself believes that it would be detrimental if Fidesz ‘were doomed to govern for ever’.

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