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Support erodes for László Botka in his party

Within MSZP (Hungarian Socialist Party), dissatisfaction is markedly increasing, and it is also more and more noticeable that László Botka, who was elected to be the PM candidate about a month ago with a significant majority, has practically run out of support by now. Socialist sources of Magyar Nemzet (a conservative daily newspaper) asserted that the strategy followed by the mayor of Szeged (Botka holds this position as well) of conflict with all the other parties on the left has become untenable. His decisions regarding personnel also led to outrage. And all that in a situation where, less than one year before the elections, the MSZP's approval rating has not started to climb at all.

For many, it was disappointing that Botka brought in "new people" (such as Bálint Ruff) and immediately installed them in high positions. Moreover, Ruff, who earlier had links to SZDSZ (earlier liberal party) and was active on the side of Gábor Fodor (SZDSZ) and Katalin Szili (MSZP) as well, instantly became the chief advisor of László Botka. The opinion is similar about Ákos Dancs who also presented himself as an advisor. Earlier, he was a municipality representative of LMP (Politics Can Be Different party), later he continued his career at Párbeszéd (Dialogue party). A lot of criticism can also be heard about the new communications director, György Kerényi, who is considered to be another man of László Botka. In the opinion of many, his communication is misguided and, at a meeting with several dozen attendants, he criticised István Hiller (formerly a leading politician of MSZ), behind closed doors, which was not well received.
László Botka might also have needed new staff because he basically put into an embarrassing situation, publicly, the "strong people" who had lined up behind him and which made them turn away from him. This was, for instance, the case of Bertalan Tóth, leader of the parliamentary group of the party. He was the one who defended MSZP's proposal for the billboard law and endured the attacks regarding a collaboration of Socialists with Fidesz, and all that with the knowledge of László Botka. And then suddenly, the PM candidate backed out of the matter. As we have already reported, this affair created such a dispute that Bertalan Tóth stormed out of the inaugural meeting of MSZP's national election committee. But he has also put campaign manager József Tóbiás into a difficult situation, when, instead of the originally communicated assistance team (Bertalan Tóth, Zsolt Molnár, Ferenc Baja), he announced a completely different list for the campaign staff, thus starting a conflict with the persons involved.
In addition to the decisions on persons, criticism of László Botka has existed for months, but it is getting more and more sharp given his attitude to the other parties of the left and his keeping aloof from any realistically achievable cooperation. According to press information, even though he excludes to work together with Ferenc Gyurcsány, negotiations have already started all over the country, at a local and county level, between people from MSZP and Democratic Coalition (DK). On top of that, within the party there is the expectation that a reconciliation with Ferenc Gyurcsány shall also take place. According to a general perception, from among the other parties, Együtt ("Together") could be considered a potential partner, but it is believed that Párbeszéd ("Dialogue") cannot be measured, and therefore, an eventual getting together with them would not yield any measurable benefit.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 June 2017 18:02

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