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Weeklies on the challenges facing the government

March 11th, 2024

A full month after the paedophile pardon scandal emerged, the weeklies believe that the subject left a deep scar on the stability of the government, although the opposition is not in better shape than before.

In Jelen, Ákos Tóth sees the regime built by Fidesz as morally bankrupt as a result of the scandal. He quotes an Ipsos poll according to which two thirds of the population believe that the country is in decline. He recalls that in the autumn of 2006, when the left-wing government led by Ferenc Gyurcsány was shaken by a moral scandal, 71% of respondents told pollsters that the country was heading in the wrong direction. Tóth sees a striking similarity between that crisis and the one resulting from the paedophile pardon scandal.

In Mandiner, right-wing philosopher András Lánczi admits that the governing political community has suffered a moral wound which cannot simply be healed through propaganda. The opposition, he writes, has been waiting for the past 14 years for a moral mistake on the government side which they could blow up to the dimension of the scandal that shook the left-wing government in 2006. This time, however, the mistake has been admitted and two valuable and prominent figures had to resign, as the government reacted in line with the moral expectations of everyday citizens, he writes.

In Magyar Hang, Szabolcs Szerető laments that the moral crisis of the government side is unlikely to result in opposition success in the forthcoming European and local council elections. The disparate forces of the opposition, he writes, seem unable to agree on a joint strategy or a united electoral alliance and thus will probably be doomed to failure. It is not surprising, he concludes, that a protest rally called by YouTubers drew a hundred times more people to the streets of Budapest than the one held by opposition parties.

In Heti Világgazdaság, András Németh sees the recent weakening of the Hungarian currency as another sign of problems within the government, although this time they are due to a feud between National Bank president György Matolcsy and Márton Nagy, the Minister of the Economy. The two have publicly criticised each other’s policies, prompting investors to be cautious about their Forint deposits.

In Magyar Narancs, Emese F. Szabó finds it natural for the government to try and boost economic growth, while the National Bank obviously concentrates on keeping inflation low. Quoting unnamed insider sources, she suggests that the government intends to replace Mr Matolcsy with Finance Minister Mihály Varga a year from now, when his mandate expires. At that moment Mr Nagy will also be put in charge of public finances. She describes Mr Nagy as a man harbouring ’fantastic ideas’ and finds it risky for the government to hand him, in addition to his current competences, ’the key to the vault’.

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