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Row over electoral TV debates

May 14th, 2024

A pro-government columnist finds it undemocratic of Péter Magyar to only accept televised pre-electoral debates with the top candidates.

Debates among lead candidates for the European elections will be held on the Partizán YouTube channel as well as on ATV television, but Péter Magyar said he would only take part on national public TV. MTVA. The government-owned media company then announced last week that it is preparing for a pre-electoral debate. In response, Péter Magyar said he would find it senseless to hold a debate with 11 participants. He also said the debate should be broadcast live and that if it is held in public, participants should agree on how the audience is selected.

On the Mandiner website, Mátyás Kohán recalls that opposition parties have been lambasting national public television for the past 14 years because it refuses to hold pre-electoral debates.  Now, he continues, MTVA has called their bluff. Kohán thinks Magyar should not recoil from a debate with smaller parties whose voters he has lured into his own camp, and they should be given an opportunity to confront him. Refusing a debate with representatives of smaller parties, Kohán writes, is just a bit less democratic than refusing debates altogether.

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