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Weeklies on the past two critical weeks

March 4th, 2024

Opinions diverge on how successful the government and the opposition have been in tackling the paedophile pardon crisis and on Hungary’s long-drawn-out reluctance to ratify Sweden’s NATO membership.

In Demokrata, Gábor Bencsik believes Klára Dobrev, DK leader Ferenc Gyurcsány’s wife has proven the real leading personality in the family – and, indeed, the party. He draws that conclusion from the serious accusations Ms Dobrev addressed to the government at last Sunday’s rally by opposition parties, where she was the number one speaker. Bencsik dismisses as outrages her statement that the whole of the governing party, what’s more, the whole of the right-wing community must bear responsibility for the paedophile crisis. However, her posture suggests to him that she has always been the real leader of the party, while Mr Gyurcsány was her frontman.

In Heti Világazdaság, Árpád W. Tóta suspects that notwithstanding its promises to the contrary, the government is not interested in unmasking paedophile offenders. Over the past 14 years, he argues, Fidesz has filled all possible positions with its own people and therefore, if any of them turn out to be paedophile offenders, the public will automatically lay at least some of the blame at the doorstep of the government. On the other hand, he continues, the scandal has shown that Fidesz doesn’t have everything under control in the country.

In Magyar Narancs, Zoltán Ranschburg writes that not all opposition parties are ready to join an anti-government alliance in the European elections in June. The main proponent of a joint opposition electoral list is the Socialist Party which might well not reach the 5% threshold on its own. Given its crucial role over the past decades, such a failure could well doom it to extinction. On the other hand, he adds, the strongest left-wing opposition party, the Democratic Coalition may not mind if its smaller rivals disappear from the scene and hopes to swallow up their voters in that eventuality. Nevertheless, Ranschburg concludes, although the European elections are not of vital importance, a dismal opposition performance might have devastating psychological consequences on the parliamentary elections in two years’ time.

In Mandiner, Gergely Szilvay believes that the agreement the government has struck with Sweden on the delivery of new Gripen fighter jets to Hungary, parallel with the Parliament’s decision to approve Sweden’s accession to NATO, have shown that Prime Minister Orban is far from isolated internationally, as the opposition has claimed for a long time. He also suggests that with its policy of progressively reaching the 2% of GDP spending on the defence budget required by NATO, Hungary has won the trust of the Western alliance despite all allegations to the contrary by the left-wing opposition.

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