The annual congress of LMP decided last weekend that the party would not join the "opposition round table" proposed by anti-government former trade union leaders. Earlier this year, parliamentary floor leader and de facto party leader András Schiffer resigned because of controversies within the parliamentary group. Observers believe his flat rejection of any form of organised co-operation with the left-wing parties was only supported by a minority of his fellow MPs. Now the party congress has elected a new person, Benedek Jávor to replace him, but has also confirmed his political line. LMP has been profusely criticised by left-wing pundits who believe the right-wing government is building an anti-democratic regime which can only be toppled by a coalition of democratic opposition forces (which means all opposition parties, except the far right Jobbik).
The small opposition LMP will pay increased focus to extra-parliamentary politics in the future, the party's newly elected group leader told a press conference on Sunday. Benedek Jávor said LMP would "bring politics to the people" and argued that the government had degraded parliament's work into a "mere formality". In an effort to build resistance to the government's policies LMP seeks direct communication with voters and wants to win mass support enabling the party to replace the Fidesz-led government in 2014, Jávor said. LMP will offer an alternative to people without a clear party preference – an estimated 4 million people, the group leader said.
On Saturday, the first day of the congress, deputies voted to delegate Bernadett Szél, so far the party's spokeswoman, to take a vacant LMP seat in parliament. Szél replaces Virág Kaufer, who returned her mandate on January 4. Kaufer said at the time that she wanted to work with civil communities and organise other forms of resistance. LMP announced to launch a "New Resistance" movement against what it called the government's anti-democratic policies and the approval of "scandalous laws" in December. Deputies and activists, including Kaufer, chained themselves to the entrance of Parliament's car park to prevent lawmakers from entering the site on December 23 when the House was to pass cardinal laws.
In Hungarian daily Népszabadság, Miklós Hargitai admits that by joining a left-wing alliance, LMP would give up its original target. It is called "Politics Can Be Different", precisely because it wanted to represent those who disliked the destructive mutual hatred that characterised the bipolar system of Hungarian politics. On the other hand, the left-wing commentator remarks, if LMP's abstention prevents the opposition toppling the government, then even the bipolar system will be in jeopardy, although it is still better than a one-party system. LMP "has another two and a half years to prove that a way out of the bipolar setup is more than a naïve illusion".
Gábor Török, a political analyst understands the concerns voiced by left-wing personalities, but believes LMP would be deeply mistaken to accept their suggestions. For the moment, Török argues, the main question concerning the next elections, is not who should have joint candidates with whom, but where the huge mass of undecided voters will go. And he suggests that most of the disillusioned voters are looking for something new, not just a mere negation of the current government. LMP would lose its chance to win them over if they decided to join an opposition alliance now.
Source: MTI, Budapost.eu