Balázs Böcskei: Delusions and realities

The two opposition parties (Socialists and E14) fail to notice and acknowledge their assets and liabilities. Attila Mesterházy, the head of the Socialists seems to be a much-better-than-expected tactician who succeeded in reining in the older generation of Socialists and getting rid of former PM and party chairman Ferenc Gyurcsány. Yet, according to the polls, the MSZP’s present support is only 14% –worse than in 2009 when Ferenc Gyurcsány stepped down as prime minister. While the majority of respondents would like to see Fidesz go, they prefer Gordon Bajnai (leader of E14) to Mesterházy as a candidate for prime minister – except Socialist voters who prefer Mesterházy. Bajnai has a much smaller reach and support, but despite the complaints that his party bites into the Socialist base, Together 2014 (E14) has also mobilized 250,000 undecided voters. The MSZP is the best organised and the strongest component of a future opposition alliance, but it is the least capable of attracting new voters. It will not be difficult for Mesterházy to agree with Bajnai’s drive for “an epochal change”, but Böcskei does not go so far as to propose that the Socialist leader give up his ambition to be the candidate for Prime Minister.

Balázs Böcskei, founding director of the IDEA think tank, Népszabadság