Pro-government groups seek to discredit potential 2014 challenger Bajnai

The anti-Bajnai and anti-Gyurcsány campaign has started, as FreeHungary had already reported. This notice slapped on the back end of a Budapest bus reads: "Together they ruined the country. Once was enough of that. We don't forget." Next to the portrait, for good measure, is the sinister text: "Gyurcsány-Bajnai Pact". It appears the 2014 election campaign is already under way. A bid to discredit the former prime minister Gordon Bajnai has begun before he has even said whether he plans to run for office. Budapest buses this week were emblazoned with a picture of Bajnai, who returned to politics on 23 October with a call for a united opposition, and his Socialist predecessor Ferenc Gyurcsány. The two, we are told, "ruined" the country during their stints as prime minister.

 

Bajnai's Homeland and Progress think-tank has dismissed the campaign as "dishonourable" but the ex-PM said on ATV on Monday that he is glad of the publicity.

The Civil Összefogás Fórum (Civic Unity Forum), behind the ads, has already held two "peace marches" in support of the Orbán government. The last one coincided with the opposition rally on 23 October where Bajnai launched the Együtt 2014 (Together 2014) movement aimed at unseating PM Viktor Orbán. The CÖF next announced an "information" campaign to warn Hungarians of the Bajnai menace. This move came shortly after a survey by pollster Medián suggested that Together 2014 (although not yet an official political party) had already trumped the Socialists in popularity and was a potential threat from the centre to Orbán's conservative populist Fidesz party.

Pro-government newspaper Magyar Nemzet joined in the Bajnai baiting on Tuesday with an article under the headline "The people behind Bajnai". Essentially a reheat of a similar piece published in the days following Bajnai's speech, it sought to link him once again to former PM Gyurcsány. The name of a former Gyurcsány speechwriter appears on the articles of association of Bajnai's movement, the newspaper reported.

All this suggests that the government's supporters plan to fight the 2014 election as they fought the last one, by attempting to depict the Socialist and liberal opposition as a corrupt cabal in thrall to international finance.

Meanwhile Democratic Coalition led by former PM Ferenc Gyurcsány has already called upon the Civic Unity Forum to reveal where the financial sources of this HUF 100 million (EUR 360 thousand) media campaign are coming from.

Source: Budapest Times

Last Updated on Friday, 30 August 2013 09:11