Opposition parties have decided to field joint candidates in all of Hungary’s 106 constituencies and launch a joint program in the 2022 general election. As the agreement does not yet contain anything specific, it can be considered only the first step towards a possible wide-ranging cooperation. The composition of a common party list and its top candidate also remain undecided.
The Democratic Coalition (DK), Jobbik, LMP, the Socialists (MSZP), the Momentum Movement, and Párbeszéd (Dialogue) will govern jointly if they win the election, through “a program and principles accepted by all parties,” the opposition parties declared in a joint statement on Thursday.
The opposition added they started preparations for the 2022 ballot with a meeting of the parties’ leaders. At the meeting, they decided to draft a joint program and agreed that pre-elections may be held among candidates.
The parties have also decided to nominate László Bíró (Jobbik) as the joint opposition candidate for the by-election in the Tiszaújváros-Szerencs constituency.
Mayor Péter Márki-Zay and the Liberals (MLP) did not take part in the negotiations. Meanwhile, a few days ago, Márki-Zay was talking about how the opposition could secure a two-thirds victory in 2022.
For the opposition, it has been crystal clear since Fidesz altered Hungary’s election system in 2011 that a head-to-head competition would be the best way to beat the candidates of the governing party. But for a long time, negotiations had fallen flat. The first time the opposition managed to reach a breakthrough was during the 2019 municipal elections. Then they were able to take several important towns and cities, such as Budapest, out of Fidesz’s hands, also boosting the push for a future opposition coordination.
While at first this may seem like the best means for them to break Fidesz’s rule, the coordination could have many unwanted consequences as well. For example, some leftists and liberals would still have problems voting for former far-right Jobbik, and for some centrist and rightist voters, voting for a list with former PM Ferenc Gyurcsány on it would seem impossible.
Also, looking at the recent scene of the opposition cooperation falling apart in Göd, Szolnok, and the 9th district of Budapest, it is also apparent that there are serious political and ideological differences between the opposition parties. This makes successful coordination burdensome. It also begs the question: what would happen if the opposition won the general election and they had to form a coalition government?
As the current agreement does not contain any specifics, it is difficult to say how effective the ongoing coordination will be in the long run. One thing is certain, however: should the opposition get close to agree in detail on the conditions, Fidesz will be there to use all means to prevent them.
Featured photo illustration by Nandor Veres/MTI