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Gyurcsany's DK seen as the likely winner on the Left

Although few analysts pay enough attention to it, dramatic changes are taking place on the left that might change the political landscape.

Ever since László Botka decided to throw in the towel, the winner of his redrawal on the left seems to be the DEmocratic Coalition (DK). According to the latest public opinion polls by Závecz Research and Medián, the difference between MSZP and DK is only 2%, in favor of MSZP, but pundits predict that even this year DK might surpass the Socialists in the polls.
The two leading left-wing parties have already named their joint candidates in all the 106 constituencies. Although more than 60 are MSZP nominees, a liberal and a pro-government pundit both agree that former PM Gyurcsány's Democratic Coalition is about to become the number one force within the left-wing opposition.
Apparently, in at least two districts however there was a serious rift between the two parties over whose candidate will be the Fidesz challenger. One was the electoral district in Újpest; the other, one of the two seats in the city of Szeged. Let's start with Újpest because its fate has already been decided. MSZP caved. László Varju (DK) will replace Imre Horváth (MSZP). In response, Horváth left the party, although he will sit with the MSZP delegation between now and the end of the current parliamentary session. In November 2014 Horváth, against all odds, won a by-election after the death of Péter Kiss. It was a tremendous victory. Péter Kiss in the spring had received 40.7% of the votes while the Fidesz candidate got 35.2%. In November Horváth got 50.6% of the votes and his opponent only 30.6%. No wonder that now, three years later, Horváth feels that his party has thrown him to the dogs, allowing DK to take over a traditionally socialist district. According to rumor, Horváth either will run as an independent or perhaps he will be LMP's candidate, running, of course, in the same district against Varju.
Another bone of contention is one of the two Szeged districts that the local MSZP people refuse to hand over to DK. László Botka, the mayor of Szeged and former MSZP candidate for prime minister, is still strong enough to defend his territory against the MSZP negotiating team. István Ujhelyi, a member of the European Parliament and a strong Botka supporter, gave a press conference in Brussels, of all places, where he said that the local MSZP leadership has no intention of replacing a "winning team," a claim that is only partially true. It is correct to say that Sándor Szabó (MSZP-Együtt-DK-PM) won one of the two Szeged districts, but the other went to László B. Nagy (Fidesz). The local MSZP's candidate for the second district is Márton Joób, a MSZP-DK-Együtt-PM member of the city council and a close associate of Botka. Given the very loose party discipline in MSZP, it is not exactly easy to negotiate with the socialists. The center might make decisions that the national leadership finds important for the party as a whole, but the local party leadership can rebel, citing its own priorities.
The MSZP is falling apart, Zoltán Ceglédi, a liberal pundit, comments on the talks on joint candidates between the Socialists and the Democratic Coalition in 168 Óra. The left-wing columnist notes that since László Botka's resignation as candidate for PM, the MSZP's popularity has declined further. As a result, it no longer has the upper hand in the talks with former PM Gyurcsány's Democratic Coalition over joint candidates. At this point, Mr Gyurcsány may not want to cooperate with the MSZP at all, but would rather woo Socialist voters in order to make his party the leading force on the Left, Ceglédi suspects. In an aside, he notes that the MSZP and the Democratic Coalition cannot agree on a number of important questions, and thus it makes little sense to run jointly anyway.
In the ruling Fidesz linked Magyar Idők, Bálint Botond contends that the MSZP has already been taken over by Ferenc Gyurcsány. The pro-government commentator finds it possible that the Socialists will not be able to run their own candidates in some single seat districts. Botond adds that the party is in chaos, that it has lost its economic hinterland, and is further weakened by infighting within the party leadership. Botond thinks that the MSZP should make a deal with minor liberal parties in order to maintain its independence and lead on the Left. If they fail to do so, they may soon have no option but to follow the Democratic Coalition's lead and even to join the party – or drop out of Parliament, Botond predicts.
Whtever the pundits say, DK has just launched its election campaign with an impressive program, whose highlight was - as FreeHungary reported - an hour-long speech by Ferenc Gyurcsány. We know from past experience that Gyurcsány is an effective campaigner. Also helping DK is its campaign against the voting rights of dual citizens which, And it is going well. With this issue DK is reaching people across the political spectrum because we know that a great majority of the Hungarian electorate opposes voting rights for those who don't bear the burden of their decisions at the ballot box. DK obviously finds this approach to be of such importance that the party is investing in robocalls, to take place this week. With all this effort, I expect a surge in DK support. Of course, the question is whether DK will be able to appeal to any of those 1.5 million unaffiliated voters or will only siphon off disenchanted MSZP voters.
Source: MTI, Magyar Idok, Hungarian Spectrum

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 November 2017 17:15

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