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A veteran Socialist politician describes a vision outlined by a group of his colleagues on how to promote opposition victory at the elections in two years’ time. Meanwhile, a centrist analyst thinks the Socialist Party (MSZP) should urgently find a convincing mission for itself – or possibly lose its place in Parliament.

Hungarian press roundup by budapost.eu

On Hírklikk, Imre Szekeres, a former top Socialist Party official urges the disparate forces of the opposition to unite, arguing that unseating the incumbent government is a hard but not impossible task. He and another 70 Socialists discussed the prospects of the opposition over the weekend and found that Fidesz would only have won a meagre majority in Parliament two years ago, had the opposition run with single candidates and on a single nationwide electoral list. At present, Szekeres writes, the combined opposition forces lag behind Fidesz by 8 to 10 points in the polls, but their position is not hopeless. If united, they would win 70 to 75 mandates if the elections were held today, therefore to unseat the government they would need to win only another 25 to 30 mandates. For that to become feasible, he believes, the parties of the opposition should stop poaching each other’s electorates and seek new supporters instead. The Socialist Party (MSZP), Szekeres suggests, should build on its own traditions as the representative of the labour movement. He praises the recent initiatives promoted by his party in defence of the underprivileged, including a demand to introduce an unconditional basic income for those earning less than the official minimum subsistence level.

In a short essay on Mandiner, political scientist Ervin Csizmadia writes that two of the three great political currents of the late 20 century have found new roles for themselves in today’s world, while the third – the social democrats are at a loss about theirs. Liberals have become the promoters of supranational integration, while conservatives have chosen national sovereignty as their mission. In Hungary, he continues, the political space is now dominated by the forces of sovereignist conservatism, while liberals dominate in the intellectual sphere. Internationally, Csizmadia writes, the establishment is being challenged by extreme left-wing groupings, but the MSZP is struggling to adopt a similar profile. After the fall of communism, the party was in two minds, representing both the losers and the winners of the regime change, but ultimately lost its liberal-minded wing (this is how the Democratic Coalition came into being) while those officials who remain are still unclear about their own mission. Extreme left-wing riots seem inconceivable in Hungary, while traditional social democracy could not be resuscitated after the regime change. If nothing changes, Csizmadia believes, the MSZP might shrink from a small party to become one of the fringe groups that never make it into parliament.

In the featured photo illustration: MSZP president Bertalan Tóth with Europen Commission’s First Vice President and then EC-president candidate Frans Timmermans (of PES) in 2019. Photo by Márton Mónus/MTI