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Opposition parties run separately for the EP elections

April 1st, 2019

A pro-government analyst describes the chances of all opposition forces in the EU elections as poor. A liberal weekly hopes they will run united in the mayoral elections this autumn and in the parliamentary elections in three years’ time.

Figyelő’s Tamás Pindroch ridicules left liberal observers who blame opposition parties for not running on a joint list for seats in the European Parliament and thereby risk the loss of several mandates. He explains that turnout is usually exceptionally low at EP elections and therefore small parties have a better chance to reach the 5% threshold than in more fiercely fought national elections. Nevertheless, he thinks the LMP will hardly make it to Brussels this time and even if it does, it might be expelled from the green group because it has already agreed to cooperate with Jobbik in the Budapest mayoral election in the autumn. Benedek Jávor, Párbeszéd’s MEP already sits in the Green group and has not been threatened with expulsion, although he openly favours full opposition unity (including Jobbik of course) to defeat the incumbent government in Hungary. His problem is, Pindroch writes, that he was only granted fourth-place on the MSZP-Párbeszéd list and that alliance might only win two seats in the EP which would leave him with nothing, even if the lead candidate, MSZP chairman Bertalan Tóth keeps his promise not to assume his mandate. Pindroch wonders what Jobbik can achieve after its complete U-turn on the European Union. Before the previous EP elections, they even proposed a referendum on revoking Hungary’s EU membership, while now they accuse the government of intending to lead Hungary out of the Union.

In its weekly editorial, Magyar Narancs welcomes the probable unity of opposition parties in the autumn municipal elections and deems it certain that such unity will materialise in the election of the mayor of Budapest. The authors praise Momentum for abandoning its position of never allying with ‘old’ parties. The editors of the liberal weekly acknowledge that the opposition comprises parties belonging to very different political areas and predicts that ‘they eat not from each other’s hands in future’. But in order to be a match for the incumbent governing party, they have to come to terms with each other. Magyar Narancs compares their position to that of the disparate forces of the new opposition during the regime change 30 years ago, which confronted the ruling Communist Party to prepare the way for democracy, before turning on each other once the regime change was accomplished.

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