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Hungarian Press Roundup: Debate over Joint Opposition EP Platform Proposal

Hungary Today 2019.01.10.

A pro-government commentator accuses those opposition parties which are pondering running jointly at the EP election of ‘of serving ‘foreign interests’. A left-wing pundit welcomes the proposal, claiming that the Left needs to cooperate with Jobbik to defeat Fidesz and restore democracy. A liberal columnist finds the opposition cooperation counterproductive.

Hungarian press roundup by budapost.eu

Magyar Hírlap’s Ervin Nagy finds it peculiar that some opposition parties are seriously considering running together at the EP election (see BudaPost January 9). The pro-government pundit suspects that the cooperation of left-wing parties, the Jobbik party and NGOs ‘financed by George Soros’ serves ‘foreign interests’. Nagy believes that the opposition actors have no credible political program and are motivated by their hatred of the government. Nagy claims that the opposition are willing to violate basic democratic norms to gain power. Nonetheless, Nagy is confident that they will fail to mobilize support. As for the broader implications, Nagy finds it sad that the Hungarian political landscape is becoming increasingly polarized. As in Western Europe and North America, the political palette is becoming dominated by two opposing groups, replacing the more diverse scene present in Hungary since 1990. While a de facto 2-party bloc arrangement does not undermine democracy, in Hungary it is not clear what political values the opposing camps stand for, Nagy concludes.

Népszava’s Róbert Friss welcomes what he calls the pragmatic cooperation of the opposition. The left-wing columnist contends that only a joint opposition can defeat the government. Friss hopes that the current all-embracing opposition cooperation will be sustained until the next Parliamentary election. Once the opposition defeat Fidesz, the Left can also challenge Jobbik, Friss writes.

On 444.hu, László Szily cautions against a joint opposition platform. The liberal commentator believes that a joint party list at the EP election would secure only marginal benefits for the opposition. Szily acknowledges that defeating Fidesz in the EP election would be an important symbolic victory for the joint opposition. He finds it unlikely, however, that such a broad opposition coalition could be kept together until the 2022 legislative election. Szily also suspects that the cooperation of the opposition could help Fidesz to mobilize its base.