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More repercussions of the Borsod by-election

October 14th, 2020

Pundits across the political spectrum ponder the implications of the joint opposition candidate’s defeat in the Borsod 6 district by-election.

In Népszava Róbert Friss, commenting on Sunday’s by-election, (see BudaPost October 13) wonders whether the cooperation of opposition parties could and should be maintained in the 2022 election. The left-wing columnist blames the defeat of opposition candidate László Bíró on what he calls the ‘anti-Nazi campaign’ waged by Fidesz, which ‘successfully divided the intellectual hinterland of the opposition’.

Friss underscores that anti-Semitism is unacceptable, but adds that moral qualms may hinder the opposition in achieving its main aim, which is to defeat Fidesz. Friss notes that Bíró apologized for his statements, made on his Facebook page in 2018. He goes on to suggest that once the opposition defeats Fidesz, the left-wing parties can get rid of Jobbik.

On Index, Attila Tibor Nagy, an analyst of the centrist Fairness Policy Analysis Center thinks that the opposition was defeated in the Borsod by-election partly because of Bíró’s anti-Semitic remarks, but also because Fidesz spent much more on political marketing than the opposition parties. The opposition can only win in 2022 if it finds stronger joint candidates than Bíró, who can successfully challenge Fidesz candidates even in rural districts, Nagy writes.

Magyar Hírlap’s Mariann Őry believes that the opposition is failing to face the real reasons for its defeat. The pro-government columnist writes that as well as making anti-Semitic statements, Bíró was also accused of corrupt business manoeuvers. Independent MP Ákos Hadházy in an interview accused Bíró of the embezzlement of 50 milllion Forints of EU funding. Őry finds it nauseating that the opposition parties, always so vigilant in matters of anti-Semitism, took Bíró’s apology at face value and lined up behind him. As for the long-term implications, Őry suspects that Jobbik’s bargaining position will weaken in the opposition, and Ferenc Gyurcsány will become even stronger after Sunday’s by-election.

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