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Left-wing infighting for leadership

June 17th, 2019

After the emergence of two new left-wing candidates for the post of Budapest Mayor, commentators across the political spectrum ponder the Left’s chances of defeating Fidesz in the fall municipal elections.

Magyar Narancs in a first page editorial suggests that by announcing their own Budapest Mayoral candidates for the opposition primary later this month (see BudaPost June 28), the Democratic Coalition and Momentum may mobilize opposition voters. The left-liberal weekly finds it reasonable for the two parties that gained the most votes on the Left in the EP election to name their own candidates. Magyar Narancs takes it for granted that the government and its media will try to paint the left-wing mayoral preliminary as an indication of the opposition’s disunity. The authors, however, are confident that the competition for leadership will boost the Left, and, unless they make a big mistake, they can win Budapest.

In Index, Gáspár Miklós Tamás finds the intra-Left competition outright ‘disgusting’. The radical left-wing philosopher contends that the left-wing primaries are only about power and access to the financial resources of opposition parties that use left-wing slogans as branding tools, but abandoned authentic egalitarian ideology long ago. Tamás accuses the Left of being as hungry for power as the current government. He claims that the Left would be better off not running at all rather then being complicit in legitimizing the ‘dictatorship’ of Fidesz.

Magyar Hírlap’s Károly Bán ridicules the opposition for not being able to find consensual candidates. The pro-government columnist notes that the Left didn’t manage to increase its voting base in the EP election, and therefore they now want to woo voters from each other rather than attracting pro-government voters. Bán interprets the left-wing primaries in Budapest as proof of the Left’s inability to reach agreement.

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