Will Orbán pursue a consolidation?

keszthelyiFidesz will probably steer towards the centre. So far PM Orbán has been busy preventing any of his followers from defecting to the far right Jobbik party. By now, the limits to Jobbik's appeal have become clear: while it does address issues that are relevant to a large proportion of the public, it has no answers that could be translated into policy. Once Fidesz feels that its right flank is safe, the party may turn towards the centre, where there are a million people who have already voted for it in the past and at least half of them have not found a new political home. Therefore, PM Orbán's main concern over the remaining 14 or 15 months before the elections will be to preserve peace and stability. It is dountful however that the Premier will be successful in that effort. On the one hand, the administration is extremely inefficient in handling certain crucial issues. Only half the EU development funds available to Hungary from 2007 till the end of this year have been used so far, and the new electronic motorway toll system that should be in operation by July and yield 75 billion before the end of the year, is nowhere in sight. The government reacts to such shortcomings with abrupt interventions and reshuffles which will prove damaging to the desired image of stability. On the other hand, Fidesz is a broad conglomerate of disparate forces and some of them will inevitably come forward with their own bright ideas that might stir up public controversy. The Christian Democrats are fighting for their own vision of the family, excluding unmarried couples (despite the fact that half of all births are to unmarried mothers); while some radical minded right-wing pundits regularly produce diatribes that provoke unfavourable reactions at home and abroad. To cap it all, Fidesz will have to keep political tensions at a high level, in order to motivate its core constituency. Taken together, all these reasons dictate against an easy path back to the political centre, if that is what the Prime Minister intends. Finally, it won't be easy for the disparate opposition forces to coalesce, given their own divisions and the inability of the Socialist Party to grow. What Fidesz has today may be largely sufficient to win a comfortable majority in 2014.

András Keszthelyi; Magyar Narancs