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Weeklies on the meagre chances of the opposition

November 6th, 2023

As half a dozen opposition parties are busy building their own identities rather than preserving the alliance that failed to bring them to government in last year’s election, commentators tried to make sense of it all.

In Mandiner, Mátyás Kohán welcomes the decision of several opposition parties to stop ‘playing the role of groupies around the Democratic Coalition’, the strongest of the lot. LMP luminary Péter Ungár, he recalls, was the first to rebel against DK leader Ferenc Gyurcsány, by saying that his party will no longer confine its policies to lambasting Prime Minister Orbán and will start building an Atlanticist Green party. MSZP co-chair Ágnes Kunhalmi announced the Socialists would reclaim the Social Democratic label from the Democratic Coalition, while Momentum’s Anna Donáth declared that Mr Gyurcsány is an obstacle to all efforts aimed at defeating the incumbent government. Kohán draws the conclusion that politics in Hungary have become exciting again – which is good news for the Right, as it would profit from real competition; for Hungarian democracy as well as for opposition-leaning voters who will no longer be forced to put up with Mr Gyurcsány.

In Jelen, Márk Áron Éber urges the left-wing opposition to rebuild its grassroots support in rural areas where Fidesz has no real competitors at present. The right-wing government cannot be defeated ‘from the right’, as the opposition tried last year, by putting forward a conservative candidate for Prime Minister. The opposition, he writes has been caught in what he calls a ‘class trap,’ playing for the gallery of the urban middle class. No left-wing strategy is possible without breaking out of that trap, he writes.

In Magyar Narancs, Anna Donáth reiterates her diatribe against the Democratic Coalition. Momentum, she says, was created to send the Fidesz government packing but also to say goodbye to the whole of what she calls Hungary’s corrupt political culture. She acknowledges that her party made a concession by allying itself with the Democratic Coalition in last year’s election but by now has realised that a regime change is impossible without a change in political culture.

In Demokrata, Gábor Bencsik recalls that four years ago Momentum was the number three political party in Hungary and could send two of its people to the European Parliament. Meanwhile, he continues its luminaries have excelled in infighting rather than in original political proposals. As a result, he predicts that Momentum will have a hard time reaching the 5% parliamentary threshold in the next election.

In Élet és Irodalom, Tamás Mellár, a former head of the Central Statistical Office and now an opposition MP warns his readers against hoping that the example of the victorious Polish opposition will be followed by Hungary. ‘The Warsaw express is not rolling into Budapest,’ he writes, because the most important Hungarian enterprises are already part and parcel of the regime and stand behind Prime Minister Orbán, unlike their Polish counterparts whose business world depends much less on the government and much more on international markets.


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