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LMP and Új Kezdet enter talks for 2018 national elections cooperation

Politics Can Be Different (LMP) and new center-right party Új Kezdet (New Beginning) released a very short joint statement Thursday announcing they are discussing a potential collaboration in the spring 2018 national election.

"LMP and Új Kezdet are entering into talks regarding the possibility of cooperating in the 2018 elections. Neither party will release statements regarding the substance of these meetings or their anticipated results until the talks have ended," the statement reads.
For years, LMP has maintained it has no intention of joining other opposition parties on a common platform for national elections. In 2012, LMP rejected an offer by former prime minister Gordon Bajnai to join the then-newly-formed Együtt (Together) party. This decision caused turmoil within LMP and resulted in its splintering. One faction went on to create Dialogue for Hungary (Párbeszéd Magyarországért, PM), which then formed the Együtt-PM coalition.
After the disastrous failure of any unified opposition platform in the national elections of 2014, PM broke off from Együtt. Since then the micro-party has struggled to reach 1 percent nationally. LMP, however, managed to pull in 5 percent of the national vote in 2014. But since then, LMP has struggled to stay afloat.
LMP co-founder András Schiffer, an ardent opponent of any electoral cooperation with other opposition parties, resigned as party co-chair in May 2016 and was replaced by Szekszárd native and former Fidesz councilman Ákos Hadházy.
Together with co-chair Bernadett Szél, Hadházy tried to rebrand LMP as an organization void of the extreme populist rhetoric of Schiffer.
Rumors have circulated for the better part of the past 18 months that moderate forces within LMP were actively trying to warm the party to the idea of cooperating with other parties in the 2018 election.
It appears this has worked. The short statement released by the two parties Thursday signals a slight but significant shift in LMP's internal politics.
In March 2017, György Gémesi, the longtime mayor of Gödöllő, held a press conference in Budapest to announce that he and several other mayors from around Hungary would be launching Új Kezdet, a center-right party to represent Hungary's "silent majority".
But Új Kezdet has had a tough time adjusting to the national political scene, and little is known about the party's membership and reach. This, coupled with sparse media coverage, has made it a relatively obscure party in Hungarian politics.
A conservative commentator interprets a Reflektor article criticising Momentum as a sign of a pre-electoral war between LMP and Momentum. He assumes that the idea of an electoral alliance uniting them and two other small opposition parties is doomed to failure.
On Válasz, Bálint Ablonczy suspects that plans for a 'new electoral pole' are being scuttled before they are even launched. The idea of uniting four parties who claim not to be the heirs of the failed pre-2010 left-liberal governance was launched by Együtt (Together) chairman Péter Juhász in March. A recent Medián poll found that such a project could count on 16 per cent of the voters next year. Thus Párbeszéd (Dialogue) and Együtt could be helped to reach the 5 per cent parliamentary threshold by co-operating with LMP and Momentum. Ablonczy sees an article on Reflektor, a news site linked to LMP, as proof that those parties consider themselves as competitors rather than future allies. (LMP is the only one of the four parties mentioned that is projected to pass the five per cent threshold at present, albeit by a narrow margin) Reflektor's Szabolcs Szalai sharply criticises Momentum for refusing to disclose the budget of their summer concert which featured half a dozen rock bands. Its spokesman said on ATV's morning show that those expenses represented 'a business secret'. How can Momentum demand transparency when it hides behind secrets itself? Szalai asks. Whereupon Ablonczy adds that this has been the third Reflector article taking aim at Momentum. "This is how things stand with the opposition Holy Alliance", Ablonczy concludes.

Last Updated on Saturday, 29 July 2017 20:45

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