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Without an absolute majority, the Orbán regime will collapse immediately - opposition PM candidate says

Gergely Karácsony, the Hungarian Socialist Party's candidate for prime minister answered questions at Budapest's venerable Spinóza Ház, a generally liberal-minded club, theatre and coffee house which has welcomed politicians from across the spectrum to sit down with journalist Katalin Rangos.

Mr. Karácsony answered questions on a broad range of topics ahead of the April 2018 national elections, but none elicited more attention that his suggestion that many Fidesz politicians are secretly hoping that Viktor Orbán does not win a two-thirds majority. As mayor of Budapest's Zugló district, Mr. Karácsony's political connections extend across party lines and he frequently maintains cordial relations with Fidesz mayors and local politicians as well. Several have said that an internal war is being waged under the radar in Fidesz. One such Fidesz politician said this to Mr. Karácsony:
"Gergő, we won't win two thirds, will we? We can't possibly get that unlucky! With another two-thirds everything would be finished here."
Mr. Karácsony added that it would take him five years to recount every instance when a Fidesz politician came to him complaining about the state of affairs in the dictatorial governing party, with Fidesz loyalists secretly hoping for a loss to curb the regime's boundless arrogance.
"Today politics is synonymous with war and thievery. In this, Orbán is unbeatable," said Mr. Karácsony, and then added how he would be different if elected: he would introduce "mild mannered and soft-spoken politics" in a country that has spent the last year wrapped up in Mr. Orbán's perpetual verbal warfare. As an aside, I should mention that this was almost exactly the same approach that helped boot the first Orbán government from power in 2002. The Socialists, then under Péter Medgyessy, came to power by countering Fidesz's verbal aggression and growing arrogance with a promise to implement a more conciliatory approach to politics and to focus on bread and butter issues.
An issue that Ms. Rangos made sure to ask Mr. Karácsony about had to do with an apparent volte-face on the part of his Párbeszéd party. Párbeszéd and MSZP are not really natural political allies. Párbeszéd, even after it broke away from the Politics Can Be Different (LMP) party, remained a type of "new left" formation, significantly more progressive on socio-economic issues than the Socialists have been in the last 15 years or so. There is also a generational difference: MSZP, in its current form, appeals mostly to elderly voters, while Párbeszéd is primarily the party of well-educated thirty-something years olds in the capital. Mr. Karácsony, however, likened the somewhat unlikely MSZP-Párbeszéd alliance (which includes a joint party list) to the Olive Trea Coalition in Italy, which included a colourful and sometimes unruly group of parties, from liberals and Christian Democrats to green politicians and even communists. The unifying goal was to take down Silvio Berlusconi and the goal in Hungary today should be the same for the opposition, with regards to Mr. Orbán's criminal regime.
This big tent approach naturally raises the question about what to do with Gábor Vona and Jobbik. Should the left-liberal side enter into a marriage of convenience with the once far-right party? Mr. Karácsony believes that it should not. He feels that Mr. Vona is too much like Mr. Orbán, in that he is willing to change ideologies for political gain at any point. "If Gábor Vona continues to say what he is currently saying for the next 20 years, then I will believe him. But not until then," emphasized Mr. Karácsony.
Mr. Karácsony's viewpoint is much more circumspect than that of so many leading voices on the left who, out of desperation, have been willing to embrace Jobbik in its current, more palatable form. But in fact Jobbik may actually have run out of time. Today we found out that the 331 million forint penalty imposed on the party by the State Audit Office (ÁSZ) stands and Mr. Vona's party has 15 days to make its payment. Jobbik will also lose the bulk of its state funding ahead of the 2018 elections. It was also revealed today that Jobbik no longer has any money to pay its political advisers, which raises questions about whether the party can even contest the April elections.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 January 2018 10:33



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