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Struggles continue for leadership of the opposition

August 22nd, 2022

Left- and right-leaning analysts agree that the opposition is preoccupied with its leadership competition, while the intra-left struggle weakens their chances of replacing Fidesz any time soon.

In an interview with InfoRádió, Ervin Csizmadia, director of the Centre for Fair Political Analysis says that Hungary’s main political battles are taking place within the opposition parties – rather than between the government and the opposition. The liberal analyst points out that since the April election, the opposition has returned to its fragmented state. The far-right Our Homeland party – Csizmadia remarks – has gained momentum, while the parties of the broad anti-government coalition have resumed their competition for leadership. Jobbik has started to disintegrate, the LMP and the MSZP focus on separate policy issues, while Democratic Coalition and Momentum try to come up with a grand narrative that could secure them leadership on the Left.

Heti Világgazdaság’s Árpád W. Tóta wonders whether the opposition stands any chance of winning elections. In a comment on DK leader Ferenc Gyurcsány’s recent statements and Facebook posts claiming that the Democratic Coalition is ‘getting ready’, the left-liberal journalist claims that the only credible alternative to Fidesz is in fact Ferenc Gyurcsány’s DK. Tóta suggests that sooner or later voters dissatisfied with the current government will realize that. As for the prospects of an opposition victory, he is confident that if voters get fed up with Fidesz, they will not hesitate to back Ferenc Gyurcsány despite his controversial record as PM. He goes on to speculate that if the Democratic Coalition ever gets an opportunity to govern Hungary, it could reduce corruption and would also restore good relations with the EU by behaving differently than what Tóta calls ‘redneck Fascist’ Fidesz. It might not however achieve more than that, he adds. Even if Gyurcsány fails to achieve anything beyond merely defeating Fidesz, Tóta would call it a victory, nevertheless.

On Mandiner, Milán Constantinovits finds it unlikely that Péter Márki-Zay, the opposition’s frontrunner in the April election could boost the opposition’s chances by launching a new party. The conservative blogger thinks that Márki-Zay stands no chance of uniting the opposition. The opposition is unlikely to become a real challenge for Fidesz as long as the Left is dominated by Ferenc Gyurcsány, Constantinovits asserts.

In Vasárnap, Zoltán Kaszab writes that the opposition is weightless and therefore voters do not care in the least about what they say or do. The pro-government pundit thinks that opposition parties which were utterly defeated in the April election are resorting to anti-government demagoguery to boost their support. As examples, Kaszab mentions the demonstrations against the self-employed tax reform, the adjustment of preferential energy price schemes and the decree on logging. The lack of mass public support for the opposition’s agenda is a clear indication that Hungarians are happy with the government and appreciate its efforts to save Hungarians from the consequences of the global economic crisis, Kaszab contends.

Summarizing a recent analysis by his 21st Century Institute, conservative analyst Ervin Nagy writes that the opposition is still fragmented and polarized both ideologically and institutionally, and therefore its popularity has further declined since April. He adds that the competition among the fragmented opposition parties also reduces their chance to show unity in the next European Parliamentary and municipal elections. He also deems it unlikely that Péter Márki-Zay could set up a new party that can unite the opposition. On the contrary, mushrooming opposition parties will hinder anti-government cooperation and coordination as the opposition parties will compete with each other for the same pool of voters, Nagy concludes.