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The end of alternating governance

July 3rd, 2018

A centrist political scientist blames the Left for its own sad plight. For the past 150 years, it was the norm that Hungary was ruled by one dominant party for decades. The Left missed its chance, while Fidesz has managed to fill the void, he suggests.

On HVG.online, political scientist Ervin Csizmadia dismisses the explanation devised by the opposition to explain its own failure. During the first 15 years of democratic Hungary, each election was won by the opposition and analysts believed that alternating governance was the rule of the game. In the wake of the third election victory in a row for Viktor Orbán’s party, the Left accuses Fidesz of making it impossible for them to win. In reality, he says, Fidesz has been working hard on building a large party designed to win elections, while the Left, which used to be dominated by a large Socialist Party, has by now disintegrated into myriad mid-size or mini-parties. Under such conditions, he argues, it may be soothing but also self-defeating to accuse Fidesz of authoritarianism, because it doesn’t explain this process. To change its destiny, Csizmadia suggests, the Left should recognize that Hungary’s political tradition is that of one large dominant party over long periods. The electorate first tried to find that big party in the MSZP which won a ground-breaking second consecutive victory in 2006 but deceived the electorate who then changed sides and invested their faith in Fidesz. The cure for the Left’s disease, the analyst concludes, is therefore to start wanting victory, coalesce into one sizeable party, and find a strong leader, rather than expecting the West to remove Fidesz from the helm.

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