Can the Hungarian opposition finally cooperate?

After Peter Marki-Zay, an independent candidate supported by the whole opposition had won the mayoral by-elections in Fidesz stronghold Hodmezovasarhely, opposition parties and analysts discuss the prospects of opposition cooperation. According to the prime minister his party must fight harder.

The green opposition LMP party initiates negotiations with the Socialists (MSZP) and the strongest opposition party Jobbik, sources told Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet on Monday. According to their information, the green party, which has been insisting on its independence, can now imagine cooperation with these parties to win the individual electoral districts. This means they are ready to step back if another candidate has more chance to beat Fidesz. Magyar Nemzet notes that so far, the joint socialist-Dialogue (Parbeszed) candidate Gergely Karacsony rejected the possibility of cooperation with Jobbik, and the strongest opposition party has also been saying that they will have their own candidates in all 106 districts.

At a press conference on Monday, Karacsony said he sees no chance of cooperating with Jobbik, adding that “it is up to the wisdom of voters to decide which candidate has the better chance”. He added, however, that “Jobbik could also support independent candidates supported by Socialists-Parbeszed”. Socialist leader Gyula Molnar said the result was a “serious blow” to Fidesz, adding his concern that Fidesz may start a dirty tricks campaign. He urged an agreement on joint candidates to be reached before March 15, ahead of the April 8 general election.

The opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) leader Ferenc Gyurcsany also urged an agreement with green opposition LMP on coordinating their candidates in individual constituencies. He did not make it clear whether he would rule out cooperation with Jobbik.

Jobbik lawmaker Dora Duro said at a press conference that the conclusion of the vote is that it’s possible to defeat Fidesz by supporting the opposition candidate who has the highest chance to win. She ruled out any negotiation between Jobbik and the Socialists, adding that the left-wing party is not constituting serious force anymore, they can even fall out of the parliament.

One of the smaller opposition parties, Momentum said they are concentrating on collecting the signatures for their candidates now, instead of negotiating with other parties. Their position is that Momentum’s candidate would step back only if there is a credible opposition candidate, who has a mathematical chance to win and the other parties step back too, otherwise it wouldn’t make sense.

Orban: Nothing is for free

The stake of the elections is still the same: do we want to become a country of immigrants or not, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told HVG about the Hodmezovasarhely results before a Fidesz board meeting. He congratulated Marki-Zay and wished him successes. Regarding Fidesz’s strategy for the elections, Orban said his party should remember an old truth: “to our community nothing is given for free or for a low price, we have never won any elections out of luck, or thanks to the weakness of others”. “If we want to win, our community must mobilise two-three times more strength than our opponents”, he added.

The news from Hodmezovasarhely have reached the international press too, several foreign outlets are writing about the “landslide victory” of the opposition candidate. According to the articles, cooperation is the key for the opposition’s success.

Hungary Journal
Photo: MTI

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