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Ghostwriter-blog: Cheer Up, Folks!

The pollsters of Medián have it that Gordon Bajnai's new team entered the opposition charts right away at number one. The former prime minister is the country's 2nd most popular politician, and he beats Viktor Orbán by 12 percentage points (or thirty percent).

Gordon Bajnai's return wasn't unexpected. Still, the leaders of the democratic opposition have behaved, over the last two weeks, like mice freshly unearthed by the plough: they were looking around, trying to find out what the hell was going on. The socialists' Attila Mesterházy was trying to play for time, reaffirming that MSzP was still the strongest force of the opposition. LMP tried the old song about the "controversiality" of Bajnai. Meaning: B.G. was just another oligarch, and moral superiority was still with them. Otherwise, their congress, in it's eternal wisdom would take a decision on him later.

Well, Medián's numbers must have been a wake-up call for the troops of both Mesterházy and Schiffer. If the question were to choose between Bajnai's "Together 2014" movement, and MSzP, the socialist would lose out. And it's also abundantly clear that an opposition alliance led by LMP is mere fiction. Not only because Milla – the movement "One Million for the Freedom of the Press" – was in the end opportunist enough to join forces with new boy Bajnai, rather than with the greens who had been courting them for many years. At first glance, the Democratic Coalition has no reason to open up the champagne bottles either. "Be careful what you wish, you just might get it" – the saying goes. And that might just be what many DK supporters are feeling now. First, because their 3% electoral support is no good news after September's 6-7%. Second, because Gordon Bajnai – although not refusing them entirely – did enough to seriously dampen their hopes to join "Together 2014" immediately.

So then, has Bajnai won, and has everyone else really lost out? Well, I do not think so. My friends in opposition, keep cool – there is no reason to put a gun against your heads just yet.

According to the current state of play, the question won't be to choose between Bajnai's movement, or anyone else. It's still "who will be Together in 2014". Of course, the fact that Gordon Bajnai has returned to the football pitch, and that he will play forward, rather than goal keeper from now on, means that team tactics need to change. The Socialists should resign themselves to the thought that they won't be delegating the team captain in 2014 either. And LMP must accept that they won't dominate neither the centre, nor the left. They can have the 'green corner', but that's it, really. And if they do not fall into line, voters will simply take them out of the game. For DK, the situation has not changed. Their only task is to stabilise their support figures firmly above 5%. Then, and only then, LMP's and MIlla's reservations against hem will become both irrelevant, and unsustainable.

As far as I am concerned, Gordon Bajnai made 3 key messages over the last two weeks. First, that he wants an opposition alliance in which all participants can maintain their own political identity. Second, that the years between 2002-2010 should not in any case be confused with the period between 2010-2014. And third, that he would not join those constantly slashing Ferenc Gyurcsány, whose public perception was way less favourable than he deserved. All three sentences are very happy news for someone. And, at the same time, they are insult to someone else. Which – to be honest – is a typical feature of any good compromise.

All in all, the main message of Medián's numbers is that the democratic opposition, Together, already in 2012, has a lot more supporters than Fidesz. The ratio among prospective voters is 47:38, which – considering the country's outlook – can only get better still, unless of course the opposition seriously messes up. Under the old electoral law, those 47% were comfortably enough for a firm parliamentary majority. Under the new one, they could be worth a lot more than that. (I can't really exclude it, but, really, we shouldn't see too many joint Fidesz-Jobbik candidates at the next elections – or should we?)

I do sincerely believe that if Gordon Bajnai were to pursue clever politics, those opposition votes could indeed be added up in the end. And those, who deserved it, those who would have a real contribution to the common cause, would also be able to get into Parliament. You think that's really optimistic? Yes, it probably is. But it's far from being a fantasy. And it's certainly worth working for. Together, even with those whom one does not really like that much.

Last Updated on Friday, 30 August 2013 09:11



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