Press-Roundup: Reactions to Resignation of Socialist PM Candidate László Botka
Robert Velkey 2017.10.05.
As we have previously reported, László Botka, mayor of the southern Hungarian city of Szeged the Socialist Party’s (MSZP) candidate for Prime Minister, resigned his candidacy earlier this week. Naturally, such a momentous political event has led to a fair amount of ink being spilled by both left- and right-wing columnists.
Explaining the reason for the withdrawal of his candidacy at a press conference on Monday, Botka said he had “made a mistake”, because he did not think “that the democratic parties do not want to win in 2018” but rather “aim to win a few opposition seats in the Orbán regime’s parliament”. Botka said that he had misjudged “how badly the political mafia has infested the democratic opposition, including, unfortunately, my own party as well.”
The outgoing PM candidate also claimed that he had “underestimated Fidesz’s vileness, that they will not shrink from using any available tool to prevent that which is the greatest threat to their power: opposition unity.”
In Gábor Horváth’s point of view, Botka’s resignation is a tragic event. Writing in Népszava, the left-wing journalist fears that the MSZP front-runner’s decision will further weaken the Left and lead to total chaos on the opposition turf. The rivals of the Socialists may profit from MSZP’s weakness in the short run, but it makes it even more likely that Fidesz will again secure a two-thirds majority in Parliament next year, he explains. In that case, Horváth believes, it would become extremely difficult for the opposition parties to rise and mount credible challenge to Fidesz any time soon.
Albert Gazda of Magyar Nemzet likens the MSZP’s performance to a tragicomedy. The centrist columnist recalls that the MSZP has been in decline since the late 1990s. Gazda thinks that the Socialist party may soon experience the fate of the SZDSZ and the MDF, the MSZP’s main challengers after the shift to democracy in 1990, which have already disappeared from the Hungarian political scene.
Magyar Idők writes that Mr Botka should not blame his failure on external factors. Ottó Gajdics thinks that Mr Botka has not been any less corrupt than other politicians on the Left and thus finds it not at all surprising that Botka could not convince voters of his fitness to govern. To sum up Gajdics hopes that all left-wing politicians who try to raise support by blaming all ills on PM Orbán will follow in Botka’s footsteps and disappear from public life.