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Pro-government commentators claim in unison that the opposition is the ideological heir of the 2006 ‘Őszöd speech’ and ensuing police violence. They also insist that the opposition is still led by former PM Gyucsány from behind the scenes. A left-wing author dismisses that as pure propaganda.
Hungarian press roundup by budapost.eu
In Magyar Demokrata, Erik Tóth, analyst of the pro-government think tank Center for Fundamental Rights, reflects on former Prime Minister Gyurcsány’s 2006 ‘Őszödspeech’. He contends that Gyurcsány is still the real puppet-master, pulling the strings of the opposition. As Gyurcsány is highly unpopular and most Hungarians do not want him in any important government role, he orchestrates opposition cooperation from behind, placing his proxies in key positions, Tóth claims. He goes on to note that Klara Dobrev, leader of the Democratic Coalition party, is also managed by Gyurcsány, her husband. Whoever becomes the opposition frontrunner in the 2022 Parliamentary election, the mastermind and real leader will be Ferenc Gyurcsány, Tóth thinks.
Magyar Nemzet’s László Néző finds it shocking that intellectuals concerned about the rule of law and democratic norms are siding with former Prime Minister Gyurcsány – as if they have completely forgotten the 2006 events. As an example, the pro-government pundit mentions the suggestion endorsed by well-known intellectuals, philosophers and legal scholars, that the Orbán government’s laws – including the 2011 constitution itself – can be overruled by a simple, rather than a two-thirds majority, as the Fundamental Law stipulates. Néző wonders aloud if the opposition’s extra-legal measures would include the confiscation of property, the use of violence, ‘or even murder’. As for the opposition primaries, Néző takes it for granted that whoever wins the candidacy for Prime Minister, ‘the leash will be in Ferenc Gyurcsány’s hand’.
Népszava’s Judit Kósa scorns the government for using the 2006 events for ‘propaganda purposes’. The left-wing columnist accuses the pro-government media of trying to liken the 2006 riots to the 1956 revolution. In Kósa’s view, what happened in the wake of the leaking of former PM Gyurcsány’s ‘Őszöd speech’, were riots spearheaded by violent mobs. Kósa accuses Viktor Orbán of hoping at the time that the disturbances could help him defeat the Socialist-liberal government ‘in the streets’. Kósa finds it particularly tasteless and absurd that the government is using the anniversary of the 2006 events to try to discredit today’s opposition.
In Magyar Hírlap, Ferenc Brém-Nagy, on the other hand, deems it absolutely justified to highlight the link between the 2006 events and the current opposition. The pro-government pundit condemns left-wing liberal intellectuals who have ‘excused Gyurcsány’s lies and responsibility in the 2006 police violence’. Brém-Nagy is convinced that Gergely Karácsony is Gyurcsány’s ‘puppet’.
In his regular weekly first page editorial, Magyar Demokrata editor-in-chief András Bencsik speculates that the government’s full-blown campaign against Gergely Karácsony is boosting the chances of Klára Dobrev in the opposition primaries. The pro-government commentator thinks that the Right’s ceaseless criticism of Karácsony helps Dobrev to brand herself as the most suitable candidate for the premiership. Bencsik suggests that Dobrev’s pledge to hand out 150,000 Forints to every pensioner is a demagogic stunt that targets ‘those who are unable to think in the long-term’, but it may nonetheless boost her popularity.
In an interview with Válasz Online, László Mérő claims that Klára Dobrev is unfit to become the frontrunner of the opposition. The left-liberal psychologist believes that many voters just see Klára Dobrev as Ferenc Gyurcsány’s wife, and therefore she will also suffer from the strong negative feelings against Gyurcsány. Mérő suspects that Fidesz will do its best to strengthen Klára Dobrev, knowing that she can never defeat PM Orbán.
In the featured photo: Ferenc Gyurcsány. Photo by Tamás Kovács/MTI