András Schiffer, co-chairman of Hungary’s opposition green LMP party and leader of its parliamentary group, has announced his resignment from all party functions and retirement from day-to-day politics in an interview published in the early hours of Tuesday.
45-year-old Mr. Schiffer, a founder of Politics Can Be Different (LMP) movement upon its establishment in 2008 who has remained its most familiar and characteristic face, also revealed that he will not run in upcoming elections in 2018, has no intention of becoming an MEP in Brussels, a constitutional court judge or President of the Republic. Instead, he will return to his profession as a lawyer and remain engaged in “building a field of intellectual force” around the party while keeping his membership in the party.
A 2010 poster for the party. All but Mr. Schiffer (centre) had since left the party in favour of joining the left-wing Together 2014 electoral alliance in early 2013 (photo: velemenyvezer.blog.hu)
The politician will resign from his position as co-chairman of the party as of 1 June and give up his parliamentary mandate on 31 August, after which he will continue working as a lawyer. In explanation of his decision, he said that the running parliamentary cycle has shown “very strongly” that in the absence of a “field of intellectual power” to give stability to politics critical of the system, it is very difficult for a party to achieve a breakthrough.
“It’s clear that building such a field of intellectual power is simply inhibited by the daily grinding mill and the compulsions of the electoral cycle”, he said, adding that he has no intentions of running at any elections to be held in 2018 and 2019. “I never wanted to go to Brussels and never had myself nominated for local elections”, he said, pointing out that he plans to remain politically active through a foundation.
“Anyone interested in politics to a certain extent could have seen that what a party can do, LMP did. But there are things a party can’t do. And I see that I have tasks in this area”, he said.
Mr. Schiffer, who has been active in left-wing politics since the transition to democracy and served as Chargé d’Affaires of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (TASZ) between 2004 and 2008.
Joining Parliament with a 7.48 per cent electoral result in 2010, LMP has significant popularity among university students and affluent, young professionals in larger cities. However, the party has since failed to gain a major following nationally, partly due to a split within the party in early 2013 which saw the departure of MPs willing to join forces with the left-wing Together 2014 electoral alliance. The party nevertheless won 5.26 per cent of the vote at parliamentary elections in 2014, securing five places in Parliament and, at European Parliament elections later that year, one seat in the Brussels body.
photo: István Huszti/index.hu